Maybe you’re a gym rat, or are starting to go to the gym for the first time in years – whatever your comfort level with exercising, there are considerations that you should take into account when working out at the gym.
There are a lot of overenthusiastic, under-educated gym goers who think that their body is invincible and that the weird twist that their body is doing right now isn’t going to come back and bite them in the you-know-where with a pulled muscle or sprain or anything of the sort. Well, it does happen, and don’t think it can’t happen to you.
The biggest thing that you should really do when you go to the gym is know both what you’re doing and your own limitations. While it is okay to push your limitations on order to break a plateau, breaking your limitations and hurting yourself is not something you want to do, even unintentionally.
What follows are a few specific examples of common dangers that you could run into at the gym.
Treadmills are dangerous for you in a few ways. First is an issue that we’re probably all aware of, seen a video of or experienced ourselves – you can fall off a treadmill and seriously injure yourself. While it may seem like slapstick humor in movies, getting thrown off of the belt of a moving treadmill is not a pleasant experience. If you’d rather use the treadmill over a more controllable machine like the elliptical or an exercise bike, make sure that the treadmill has that little emergency clip that you clip somewhere on your clothing so that if you start falling off the machine will shut down.
Another danger of the treadmill that is perhaps less obvious is the incline of the treadmill. Because it’s indoors and we feel safer (and aren’t faced with a massive hill to run up) many will actually attempt inclines on treadmills that are beyond their capacity – and will often end up putting undue stress on their back and joints when attempting to run a steep incline. It’s much safer (and probably more beneficial to the everyday fitness runner) to do interval training on a treadmill or run outside the old-fashioned way.
While it’s great that you don’t have to wake up before the sun and carry a skull to the water to row, using rowing machines requires a proper form that isn’t necessarily obvious to the neophyte. Using a rowing machine does not mean that you only use your arms to pull yourself back – it’s a combination of arms, legs and back – no shoulders around your ears, please!
While you may feel more comfortable working out in looser clothing and all your jewelry (I don’t thin k anyone would actually do that, but just go with me here) – that’s probably one of the worst things that you could do at the gym, especially if you’re using any of the weight machines. Things can get caught and trapped, can catch and potentially hurt you. Wearing loose clothing and excessive, dangling jewelry can seriously pose a risk to your safety when you work out.
In order to stay safe you’re going to want to wear fitted clothing, pull your hair back, and reduce the jewelry to a minimum, and tuck under your clothes if it is something you absolutely need to wear.
People sweat; that’s just a fact of life. But the moisture of sweat when it accumulates on community machines like at the gym is an ideal place for germs to flourish. So make sure that you sanitize the equipment that you’re using. Also – never, ever, ever walk barefoot in the gym lockers or shower area.
If you’re particularly persistent with your desire to be germ free, you can bring a personal towel so that the surface your actually touching is your own towel and not the gym equipment, and make sure that any open cuts are properly cleaned and bandaged.
Image credit: US Army