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How to stay injury free at the gym

by Jaime Bromley, kinesiologist and 8WW trainer

Injury prevention

Whether you are a regular gym goer or new to fitness, a few missteps here and there can increase your risk of injury. To keep yourself, and maybe your buddies’ safe, here are a few tips to keep you moving the way you should, allowing for you to get the most out of each workout.

1. ALWAYS do a warm up: This is a common error when people are short on time, trying to squeeze a workout in when they can. But make no mistake, not warming up increases your risk of injury dramatically. Warming up not only increases your body’s core temperature, it improves the elasticity of your muscles, range of motion of the joints, increases rate of oxygen distribution, and prepares you mentally for the workout itself. Try to allot yourself ten minutes to complete a full body dynamic warm up.

2. Switch up your routine: If you find yourself at the gym 3-5 times a week doing the same machines, or using the same cardio equipment for every session, perhaps it’s time for you to switch it up! Doing the same exercises over and over increases your risk for muscle imbalance, and overuse injuries.

3. Have a plan: Going to the gym consistently is the first step (kudos to you!!). However going to the gym without a purpose or plan can increase your risk of injury, and perhaps lead to a silly injury from lack of focus. Strategies to avoid this is to always plan out your routine before you get to the gym. Setting out this time for yourself will not only mentally prepare you for the workout itself, but it will hold you accountable to actually complete it!

4. Know your limits: Pushing yourself is one thing, but overloading your muscles to the point of injury is another. “Ego-lifting” most definitely will lead to injury! Protect yourself by focusing on your body awareness (proper form), knowing your limits, and keeping track of the weights you use. A good rule to follow for weight progression is; if you can complete 12 repetitions comfortably for at least 3 sets, increase your weight by 5%, then begin again with 8 repetitions.

5. Ask Questions: See a machine that interests you but you’re not sure how it works? Ask a gym employee, or even a fellow gym member, most will respond in a helpful way. Not getting the answer you want? Don’t hesitate to book in with myself for a consultation.

6. Cool Down: Much the same as your warm up, take this time to reflect upon the workout you just completed. Write down how you felt, make note of any exercise you feel you could improve on, etc. However, different from your warm up, do static stretching (holding a stretch for 30 seconds).

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