Avoiding Disaster at the Gym

Many people choose to exercise at workout facilities such as gyms, recreation centers, and health clubs. In 2016, the total number of gym memberships in the U.S. was 57.25 million in over 36,000 facilities. While the increased physical activity is a good thing, people often overlook the dangers found at such facilities. In fact, for many people, the gym may be the most dangerous environment they visit on a regular basis. Many people performing exertive movements in close proximity using heavy, free-moving equipment can be a recipe for disaster. To ensure you only end up sore from your workout, here are some gym safety tips to follow.

  1. Know your body. Certain health conditions can sneak up with physical activity so before you start an exercise regime, visit your doctor for a yearly exam to make sure you are healthy enough for exercise. After all, your New Year’s resolution was to lose weight, not have a heart attack.In addition to knowing your physical health, know your limitations. We may all believe we are in tiptop shape, but if it is your first time or the first time after a long break, it is best to take it light and gradually increase the level. On a side note, taking such an approach will help you stick with your plan. People often set the bar too high and quickly over exert themselves making exercise less fun and causing them to quit prematurely.
  2. Know the facility, features, and staff. Each workout facility will have a different layout, range in size, and feature different safety equipment and features. When entering a new facility make sure to note the location of emergency equipment, water fountains, and first aid stations as well as emergency exit paths. Staff will act as first responders in the event of an emergency and in commercial gyms are trained in accident prevention and emergency response. Introduce yourself to them and be mindful of who is employed at the facility.
  3. Know the equipment. Before using a new piece of equipment, notice the condition of the equipment. A damaged or deteriorated machine is not safe. Remove it from service immediately by alerting a staff member to the issue. If it is your equipment, repair or purchase another. Read the manufacturer’s labeling. It will provide information on the proper and safe way to use the equipment, as well provide general limitations.
  4. Keep the gym clean. Sweat or equipment on the floor can create a slip and fall hazard, and bodily fluids can spread germs. Clear your area of debris. Wipe and disinfect all equipment after use. Wipe any sweat or water spills off the floor. Most gyms will have disinfectant wipes and towels available for you to use. Remember you are sharing the facility, so good housekeeping will also protect others.
  5. Get a workout buddy. In addition to serving as a source of motivation, workout partners provide another set of eyes for possible hazards and can assist with certain exercises that are safer with two people present such as heavy lifting.

Now that you have some gym safety tips, get out there, put in the work, and accomplish your fitness goals!

Sources:
Riffkin, R. (2015, July 29). Well-Being. Retrieved July 20, 2017, from http://www.gallup.com/poll/184403/far-2015-americans-exercising-frequently.aspx

Total number of memberships at fitness centers / health clubs in the U.S. from 2000 to 2016 (in millions). (n.d.). Retrieved July 20, 2017, from https://www.statista.com/statistics/236123/us-fitness-center–health-club-memberships/

 

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