With the world opening back up, people are clamouring to return to the gym – or to regain control of their lives and their fitness after a lazy year. With membership numbers for one of the UK’s larger gym providers rising by a third in a matter of months, the road to fitness is on the minds of many. But in the rush to jump back on the treadmills, its easy to forget that exercise can be a dangerous endeavour if done incorrectly – and that there are proper ways to go about bringing your body back towards fitness. Here we’ll look at some simple ways to ensure a safe route to health, and the prevention of injury while exercising.
Warming up is deeply important to exercising properly, efficiently and without the threat of injury mid-exercise. Warming up is exactly how it sounds; with small exercises to build yourself up to your workout, you increase your body’s core temperature, and hence blood-flow to your muscles and extremities. Cold muscles receive less blood, making them more prone to injury when you make major requests of them.
Using the Correct Equipment
If you’re at a gym, it might be tempting to use a complicated and interesting-looking piece of equipment. But if you don’t know how to use it properly, you might not be gaining anything from it at all – and may in fact be injuring yourself. Don’t be afraid to ask a personal trainer for assistance when it comes to more complicated equipment, and be sure to stick to exercises you know how to execute confidently if one is not available.
Choosing the Right Attire
Exercising in the wrong clothing can not only be detrimental to your performance, it can also be harmful to your body. For example, running in the wrong kind of shoes can cause such ailments as Achilles Tendonitis, as well as serious back and hip pain in the process. Wearing the correct attire can increase your range of movement, as well as reduce the risk of strain or injury as you exercise.
Choosing Your Regimen
As with using the incorrect equipment at the gym, using the wrong kind of exercises from the off can be dangerous. For example, if you’re recovering from a recent personal injury and trying to build your fitness back, going straight to deadlifts would be a terrible idea – additional strain is put on your neck and back, and no real benefits are gained without a proper ramp-up to that kind of exercise. Start out with light exercise, improve your breathwork and general fitness, and then you can think about the harder exercises.
Hydration is the final piece of the puzzle. Water plays an important role in the delivery of nutrients to your muscles, and with a reduction in the amount of water in your body comes the increased risk of muscle fatigue and cramp. You also lose inordinate amounts of fluid through sweating, which helps keep your body temperature low enough to avoid heat stress. Dehydration can make sweating difficult, increasing the likelihood of heat stress at the same time.