Many of us take up gym memberships with the intention of making genuine changes to our body, our lifestyle and improving our overall happiness. This can be a rewarding decision and can contribute to your fitness, your health and has a number of related improvements in other areas of your life. But like any vigorous activity, exercising in the gym can occasionally lead to injuries for even the most diligent person. With preparation and good habits, you can avoid the majority of injuries that plague new and seasoned users alike, by keeping in mind a few good practices.
Stretching is key to any successful gym routine and should bookmark your session, with thorough stretching and mobility exercises both before you start and as a cool down after you finish. Stretching needs to be built in as an essential part of your programme (and not something that can be skipped if you’re tired or in a rush). There are general stretches which are beneficial for every day, but you should also try to include exercises which target the specific muscles you intend to use that day.
Know Your Body
Everyone’s body is absolutely unique, with different strengths and weaknesses, tricky spots and preferences that only you know about. Exercise programmes should be taken as guidelines to encourage your body in a specific direction. However, it’s important to listen to your body and know when one arm needs more support in a set than the other, or when an old injury is about to flare up. Most injuries in the gym occur when people ignore the warning signs from their body, so don’t burn through that last all-important set if it’s going to push you over the edge. If you pay attention your needs, you’ll be stronger for the next time.
Focus on Proper Technique and Equipment
Everyone would love if we get the beach ready summer body we want in a few short days. You’ll see much better results in the long term by ensuring you’re using the correct technique for each exercise and that the equipment you’re using is good quality and suitable for what you’re trying to achieve. If you’re using a sloppy technique, either because you’re uncertain of what you’re doing or you’re tired, you’ll not only increase the chance of hurting yourself but you won’t get the same positive effects. It’s worth it to spend the time with either an instructor or a more experienced gym goer to ensure every rep in every set is executed correctly – it’s better to go lighter and slower than to rush ahead, hurt yourself, and become discouraged for next time.
Being a regular and successful gym user is about valuing consistency and results over flash and quick fixes. Take the time to understand what you’re doing and enjoy the routine and you’ll be reaching your targets and beyond.