Avoid Injury While Exercising
•Equipment. If your home equipment came with a maintenance manual you will want to go through it periodically and make sure your equipment is in proper shape. Otherwise you will have to depend on a site review and look for anything that is out of place.
When you exercise in the gym you take it for granted that all the equipment is up to par and in good working order. This may or may not be true. Check with the gym management to see if there is a maintenance schedule and if it is being followed properly. Always keep your eyes open for anything that seems out of place.
One more thing about equipment is what you wear and take to class with you is important. Check with the instructor when beginning a new exercise class and ask about what to wear and what equipment you may need. If you’re working out in a gym take note of what others participating in your sport are wearing and the equipment they are using. It’s okay to ask someone how they like something or where to get it.
•Moving too fast. This can involve several things. First of all you can be going too fast literally, such as on equipment, like a treadmill; or riding your bike too fast down a hill. If you feel the least bit out of control it is time to dial down the speed.
Another way of moving too fast is by making yourself reach a goal before your body is ready. It’s called pushing yourself too hard and is the most common cause of injury. Stick to a program that will help you increase your abilities gradually. You will become just as strong, but it might take a little longer. It’s worth the extra time to keep you safe.
•Instructions. I can’t say enough about this. There is reading the instructions, listening to instructions and following the instructions. How often have you bought something and jumped right into using it, not stopping to read the instructions. You are taking a 50/50 chance, it may work out fine, or you may end up with cookie dough on your ceiling. Reading the instructions is not enough, you want to follow the instructions also, otherwise you may as well not read them. Following the instructions may seem a waste of time, you read the manual, but what did it say. Try following the instructions as you use your device for the first time.
There is also listening to instructions. I am referring to Personal Trainers, exercise DVDs, and fitness class instructors. Special directions are given for your benefit, to keep you safe. If your Trainer shows you how to use a weight machine and two days later you don’t remember, don’t try to guess, it’s alright to ask. If you’re watching an exercise DVD and you missed or didn’t understand the last thing the instructor said then rewind. It may be something of specific importance.
•Don’t try to live up to someone else’s expectations. Set your own goals. Don’t let a friend, trainer, or TV host tell you something you know isn’t correct. Follow your intuition. If something doesn’t feel right then it’s best to skip it. Don’t let anyone push you too hard or too soon. Only you can tell when you are ready to move on in your workout or try something new.
•Don’t ignore pain. You have performed some type of movement that has strained your back. You tell yourself, “Its okay, working out will help it get better.” You have sprained your ankle and walking on the treadmill is painful, but you really can’t miss your exercise, so you tough it out. Later the ankle is red, swollen, and painful. These are examples of common mistakes we make regarding pre-existing injuries.
It is seldom helpful that working out will make a strain, sprain, or any injury feel better. Your workout can wait a day or two. Rest the injured area. If the pain goes away in a day or two then try exercising again. If the pain returns, or the original pain is persistent, then visit a medical professional immediately. Often serious injuries go undiagnosed when people don’t see a doctor. If there is nothing wrong other than you need to rest then at least you know and it’s better to be safe than sorry. Undiagnosed injuries can lead to more serious and/or long-term damage.
Be sure to check with a medical professional before beginning any exercise program or in the event of injury. Be healthy, be happy, and safety first.
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