injuryEveryone finds gyms a bit daunting on occasion. There are so many complicated machines and classes it can be a bit confusing at the start.  Yet, staying fit is an essential part of healthy living and it is often easiest to stick with a routine if you go to the gym.  So, where do you begin and how do you avoid injuries as you begin exercising?  Here, are a few tips to keep you injury free as start your journey to fitness in the local gym.

Cause of Gym Injury:

The two main causes for injuries in gyms are overtraining and training incorrectly.  Whether you have been exercising for years or are just starting you, almost certainly do not know everything there is to know about the routine you are about to begin.  Technique and form are necessary to follow for every exercise in your routine.  Taking time to make sure you are using the proper form for an exercise can save you from a host of unnecessary injuries.  It is a brilliant idea to sign up for an introductory session at your gym if you have been away for some time or you are starting at a new gym.  This allows you to meet the gym staff, brush up on your form and learn about the equipment you may not have encountered before.

Knowing Your Equipment:

It would be truly embarrassing, not to mention dangerous, if you started messing about with the equipment you did not know how to use.  Treadmills are quite possibly the most deceptively easy equipment.  Nearly everyone has been on a treadmill at some point.  The problem is that they are all a bit unique and sometimes a bit temperamental deciding to obey your commands at their own leisurely pace.  So, rather than putting yourself at risk for a sprained ankle or head injury by jumping on a treadmill without checking where the stop button is, ask how to use the equipment.  A quick introductory session can save you from all this embarrassing and unnecessary trouble.

Be careful and avoid overtraining:

Unfamiliar equipment aside, you could be at risk of overtraining if you are not careful.  Fitness is more about a lifestyle than an overnight accomplishment.  You must work up to higher weight settings slowly.  Do not start at weight setting than you are comfortable with.  You are not competing with others in the gym.  Your goal should be to stay focused on increasing your personal fitness.  Using the right weight for you avoids strains and tears caused by overworking your muscles.  If an exercise starts to hurt stop immediately.  Listen to your body and rest when it tells you to.  Resting your muscles will allow you to avoid injury and keep returning to the gym to slowly work on your fitness.  Pushing yourself to the point of injury is foolish and only keeps you away from your routine for longer.

Follow proper technique:

Proper technique is something you should always be mindful of, especially for new and unfamiliar exercises.  Some simple exercises like lunges and squats can cause injuries if done improperly.  If you take the exercise slowly and make sure your knees do not go over your toes, you can easily avoid injury to your knees.  For exercises that involve free weights, it is noteworthy not to lift too much.  You should be able to do lateral and front raises without having to lock out your elbow joints and grasp the weight extra hard.  If you do this you are no longer using proper form and you will sustain an injury to your joint.  When pressed for time do fewer repetitions rather than more in less time.  Trying to push too hard or too fast often leads to pointless injuries.

During an introductory session at your gym you have the perfect opportunity to check the qualifications of the staff and instructors.  Well qualified instructors will know proper techniques for exercises and also how to avoid injury.  It may be a good idea to see if any staff members are trained in first aid.  You may not need any of their help or instruction, but should an accident occur you will know what staff members to locate.  Asking questions and learning how to use all the equipment is an easy way to make your fitness experience in the gym injury free.

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