The safety of the people shall be the highest law – Marcus Tullius Cicero
Heading to the gym can often times feel intimidating. We worry about the overwhelming amount of equipment, people, and gear that we see, and often times forget the basics of staying safe. Below, we have comprised a list of the five main tips to keep in mind while working out at the gym. Just remember, safety comes first!
1. Warm up, cool down, and stretch
In order to get the most out of your workout, it is imperative that you warm up your body before you workout and cool it down afterwards. Before you move into your workout, we recommend that you do 10 minutes of low-level aerobic exercise. This will increase your body temperature, get your blood flowing, steadily increase your heart rate, and allow your body to acclimate to the movement.
After you have finished your workout, we recommend that you walk or jog for about 10 minutes in order to cool your body down. Then, stretch out your muscles for at least 5 minutes. Be sure to stretch only in static positions as bouncing while stretching may cause small tears in muscle tissue. This cool down will allow your body to slow down and it will return your breathing and heart rate to a normal rhythms.
2. Consider working out with a professional
If you are just starting out, or getting back into the rhythm of exercising regularly, you may want to consider hiring a personal trainer to teach you the basics. Gym equipment can often times be intimidating, but hiring someone to walk you through your gym experience can make even the scariest gym equipment simple to use!
3. Listen to your body
Be aware of your body while you are exercising. It is okay to feel resistance while you are exercising; however, extreme pain should be cause for concern. If you feel any unusual discomfort or pain, you should stop immediately and consult a health professional.
Additionally, when you get into a routine of exercising on a daily basis, make sure to take care of yourself and allow time for recovery days. You should allow at least one “rest day” each week and reward yourself for your hard work!
4. Stay hydrated
Make sure to drink plenty of water starting a couple of hours before you plan to exercise. When you are finished continue to replenish your system by drinking more water! Often times we sweat a lot while exercising and become red in the face, but drinking water before you workout will help to keep you hydrated even when you’re working had. Try to drink two cups of water about an hour before you work out and you will be ready to push yourself!
5. Be weather conscious
Outside weather conditions have the ability to affect our safety while exercising. Whether you are jogging outside, or just walking from the car to the gym, the weather can greatly affect your body. It is important that you are aware of signs that you may be overheating and dehydrated. If you get a headache, feel pounding in your head, or experience extreme fatigue your body may be telling you to take a step back, drink some water, and rest. On extra hot days, be sure that you are hydrating your body well! Conversely, cold weather can affect your safety while exercising as well. When it’s cold outside, make sure to layer up and spend extra time warming your body up. Cold weather can tighten your muscles so this can help to prevent injury.
Overall, the most important step in staying safe while exercising is to listen to your body! We encourage everyone to get fit and active, but your safety comes first.