Regardless of whether you're a gym newbie or have been working out for years, there's a variety of common mistakes that can lead to injury. Nobody wants that right? Here are five ways to hurt yourself at the gym, with advice on how to stay injury free.
- Skipping the warm up. Even if your schedule is tight, don't skimp on the very important warmup. Easing your way into your workout will gradually increase your heart rate and get the blood flowing into your muscles. Not only does it help make your body feel more prepared to work hard, but it can also prevent pulling a muscle.
- Doing the same thing every time. While it's good to get into a routine, this is a great way to get a repetitive stress injury. So alternate between cardio machines, try out different fitness classes and weight machines, and work on cross-training. Not only will you help give overused muscles a break, but you'll have more fun working out too.
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- Doing too much. Ease into new exercise routines. When strength training, if you're increasing to a heavier weight, shoot for eight reps instead of 20. If bike riding is new to you, ride at a moderate pace first, and as your body gets used to it, gradually increase your speed. You won't be able to go to the gym if you end up really sore or with a pulled muscle, so ease up on the gung-ho mindset and increase intensity as you feel ready.
- Holding onto the treadmill. This can put your body in an unnatural running position, which could end up straining your shoulders or back. If you're holding on because you're worried about falling off, then slow down the pace and speed it up as you feel comfortable.
- Bouncing while stretching. This is a big no-no since you could be causing microtrauma to your muscles. As these injuries heal and scar, they can actually make you less flexible, undoing all the work you've done. So get into a stretch and stay there to reap the benefits. Stretch to a point where you feel your muscles opening, but you shouldn't feel any pain.