Isn’t it a great feeling to be going to the gym regularly, seeing your progress since a few months ago, and actually enjoying your workouts rather than begrudgingly doing them as a chore? It’s probably at this point that you may feel the need to push a little harder, to work on taking advantage of the momentum you’ve built up to now, whether it’s to lose some more weight, build some more muscle, or to simply tone up a little more. However, if you don’t build positively and constructively on your gym routine, you could end up injuring yourself, which won’t do anything positive for your gym attendance.
Take note of the following to avoid injuries while exercising:
Never skip your warm-up
Warming up is an essential part of working out. The purpose of warming up is to ease your body into the effort of exercising, moderately increasing the blood-flow to your muscles and increasing your heart rate. If you don’t adequately prepare your body for the exercise, you could overwork your cardiovascular system or pull a muscle, which may result in you needing to consult with your medical aid options rather than your personal trainer.
Vary your workouts
Doing the same exercise over and over may be good for habit-forming purposes, but you will need to increase your intensity from time to time, and also mix up your cardio vs. weights routine. One risk of routinely doing the same exercise is getting a repetitive stress injury. Mix up your cardio by spending time on the elliptical trainer today, then running on the treadmill tomorrow, and following up with the static bike the next day. Use different weight machines for strength training and toning, and also try cross-training. Exercise is hard work, but you can at least make it fun for your body and avoid injury.
Don’t do too much
There’s always one person at the gym who wants to lift heavier, run further, and do better than everyone else. Don’t be that person. Fitness is a gradual endeavour, and while it’s good to push yourself a little further each time, your body will tell you when “a little further” is actually too much. By pushing too hard, you run the risk of burning your body out – pulling a muscle, hurting your back, or injuring yourself in a way that requires a period of rest before you can continue.
Let go of the treadmill
When using the treadmill, assume a natural running stance and don’t hold onto the bars on the treadmill (unless you’re making use of the built-in pulse monitor, and then only use it for a short while). If you need to hold on to the bars because you think you might fall off, then rather slow down the pace and gradually increase it only when you feel comfortable enough to run faster on the treadmill.
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