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A Guide to Common Injuries at the Gym

The gym is obviously a great place for getting into, or helping you to stay in shape. Even in light of this fact, it does not mean that the gym cannot be bad for you… if you don’t use it correctly!

Injuries occurring at the gym are on the rise, and there are a pretty broad array of things that can go wrong; from general aches, pains & strains to broken bone and even head injuries – it pays to be aware what the potential pitfalls of bad gym use are.

It’s important to be aware that gym injuries are, for the most part, highly preventable; the purpose of this article is not scaremonger and put you off visiting the gym – it is simply to make you aware of the potential hazards that are out there.

Below are some of the most common gym injuries you are likely to fall foul to whilst participating in your weekly fitness fix. Remember: there’s plenty to gain without the pain!

Your workout, your injury – perhaps the most important point to remember is that the injury you are most likely incur is going to be any injury related to the exercise or exercises you most often do! Although this may sound obvious/bordering on condescending, too many people get far too bogged-down with worries about “the most common” gym hazards, to the extent where they go to bizarre lengths to avoid injuries to parts of their body which were never really “in the firing line” to begin with. The best chance you have of avoiding injury is through utilising your common sense.

Too much, too quickly – being too enthusiastic to get in shape quickly is truly an admirable quality to encounter in a person.  However, one of the main reasons for injuries at the gym is being overzealous. It is vital to be aware of your limitations; after all, the whole purpose of exercise and fitness training is to push the limitations and not ignore them. In some people’s minds, this point is only applicable to those gym goers who are approaching weight lifting with eyes that are bigger than their biceps; however, forcing too much cardio exercise on a system that is not prepared to handle it can have much more devastating consequences than trying to lift weight that’s too heavy…

Stretching it to the limit - warming up before any kind of exercise is definitely a smart idea, yet a surprising number of people totally skip this injury-saving step and dive straight into a strenuous workout. For those who do actually remember to try and spare their muscles and ligaments, problems often arise from incorrect stretching techniques. The most common culprit is “bouncing” into a stretch, instead of taking the correct amount time to stress the limb/body part slowly and carefully. This is extremely counter-productive and immediately over-exerts the area that the movement is supposed to be benefiting!

Let go – the treadmill is a top-class piece of equipment for working out. However, it is quickly becoming one of the most common ways for people to injure themselves at the gym. Surprisingly, leg injuries or falling off are not the most likely hazards associated with treadmill usage. People holding on to the safety bar while running at top speeds can cause nasty shoulder injuries by placing the body in an unnatural and contorted position. Although it may be scary to run on a treadmill, it is something that you will feel more comfortable when given enough practise.

Rules, rules, rules – in all reality, one of the chief reasons for injury occurring at the gym is often quite simply down to poor health & safety. It is a legal requirement for a gym to show their members the correct methods of using their equipment; so it is therefore a sensible idea to give that fact the due care and attention it deserves. It is not only improper use of equipment that can result in injury. It is also important to remember more simplistic health & safety advice, such as not rushing/running in potentially wet and slippery areas. A gym will have plenty of hazardous areas from wet locker rooms and swimming pool sides, to general damp patches as a result of spilt water-bottles or even sweat!

Author: Nathan Clarke is a professional guest blogger, writing about the best ways to avoid injuries at the gym.
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