The start of the year has got many people thinking about resolutions they can make, with health being a big priority. If your aim for 2016 is to start working out more in a bid to lose weight or just get healthier, you need to ensure you know the right ways to exercise.
You may think that working out is as easy as popping on your gym clothes and stepping onto the treadmill. However, not knowing the right way to use equipment, being careless, not spotting faulty equipment and generally being underprepared can all leave you with injuries.
Avoiding injuries isn't too difficult if you know what you are doing and if you approach exercise in the right way. Here are some simple steps that could help you steer clear of bruises, bumps and breaks while at the gym:
First thing's first you actually need to know what you're doing. Misusing the equipment is one of the easiest ways to injure yourself while working out.
Gyms offer an induction for a reason, so you should ensure you make the most of yours in order to learn about the machines, find out the best ways to exercise to suit you and generally get to grips with the gym.
It is also worth remembering that gym staff are on hand to help and answer any questions, so if you aren't sure about something, ask for help rather than trying to carry on regardless.
While you might be pumped up and ready to get fit, you need to know what your body can handle. The best way to do this is to ease yourself into your workouts, rather than hitting the gym for several hours every day.
You should build up your workout time and intensity to help your body adapt to the routine. It is also important to give yourself rest days to allow your body to recover from the exercise.
Take things slowly, building on the amount of time you spend in the gym each week, as well as how hard you work out.
Before using any equipment, you should give it a quick check to make sure it is working properly. This means checking everything is set up properly, that nothing seems to be broken and that all movements - such as on a treadmill - are smooth.
If you notice that anything is wrong with the equipment, notify a member of gym staff so they can make sure no one else tries to use it.
It can be easy to let your mind wander if you are performing repetitive cardio, but this can lead to injuries. You should make sure you stay focused on what you are doing so you are aware of any possible risks.
This doesn't mean you have to avoid listening to music or looking at the screens in your gym; it simply means knowing what you are doing at all times to avoid missteps that could end up hurting you.
If you're trying your hand at bench pressing or other weight-related exercises, it is vital that you have someone there to spot you. This is not something you can skip, as not having a spotter with you can result in serious injury.
You shouldn't just have anyone do the job either. They need to be familiar with weights and know what they are doing. It is also important that they are as focused as you are on your workout or it will be like they aren't there at all.
One of the biggest mistakes you can make is not listening to your body. You need to know what your limitations are when it comes to planning your workouts, as well as during them. This can help you avoid pushing yourself too far or aggravating an existing injury.
You shouldn't do exercises that cause you pain or address an area of your body that has problems directly - such as leg presses if you have bad knees.
It is also important to pay attention to how your body feels when you're working out. If you notice that a muscle is getting too stiff or that you are starting to feel twinges in certain places, it is a good idea to take it slower or stop for the day.
Hopefully following all of these tips will leave you feeling healthier without the need for ice packs or trips to the hospital.
Learn more: AIG Accident & Health Policies, policies that look after you and the people closest to you.