For many people, going to the gym is the first big step towards leading a healthier lifestyle. Ironically, however, most first-time gym goers compromise their health by injuring themselves a day or two after working out. Part of this could be blamed for the overzealousness in exercising, or even skipping warm-ups.
If it is your first time to hit the gym, you must learn about the most common gym injuries and how to avoid them. Having an understanding of how you could sustain these typical gym injuries will spare you from aches. More importantly, avoiding injuries will help you achieve your weight-loss goals faster.
The risk of knee pain is quite high for guys and gals who have desk jobs. All the hours of sitting can cause stiffness of the hip muscles. It is the knee which has to compensate for the immobility of the hips during simple exercises like running on the treadmill. The stress is compounded by the use of improper footwear. Doing leg extensions and curls won’t solve the problem because these exercises don’t target the muscles of the hips and feet.
So how do you avoid this injury? Perform hip-centric movements such as hip bridge and a plank before getting on the treadmill. Or you can try lunges that stabilize and strengthen the knees instead of putting all the pressure on that part of the body. Box step and squat is another ideal warm-up exercise that can prevent knee pain.
Lower Back Pain
Again, blame your day job for the lower back pain that you may experience after a day or two of working out. Hunching all day-long instigates upper back stiffness that could get in the way when doing exercises like standing overhead shoulder lifts.
Before doing the standing overhead shoulder lift exercise, make sure to stretch and strengthen your upper back first. You can do so by flattening your lower back against the wall and slanting the pelvis underneath. And as much as possible, stand up when exercising as this not only prevents lower back pain but also engages the bigger muscle groups of the body.
Another common cause of lower back pain is poor posture while riding a stationary bike. When utilizing this gym equipment, ensure that the seat and handlebars are not too low so that you’ll have a better posture and thus prevent lower back aches.
When improperly done, crunches can also cause lower back aches. The exercise puts a lot of pressure on the back particularly when you are on the floor. The best way to prevent incurring this injury is to use a stability ball in performing crunches. Other alternatives to this workout are side plank and plank.
Neck pain may occur when you are fond of doing the bench press. Always make sure that when you do this exercise, your neck and back are perpendicular to each other. Again, your day job can cause you to arch your neck a little bit especially when you look at the computer screen. There’s a high probability that you will bring this posture all the way to the gym. When you do bench presses, there might be a chance that your back does not rest flat on the surface.
The next time you perform bench press, make sure that your neck and lower back are aligned with each other. You may also do reverse shrugs by sitting in front of a lateral pull down, grabbing the bar and performing straight arm pull downs.
The most common type of foot injury to neophyte gym goers is stress fracture. This happens because the feet and ankles of former couch potatoes have a weak bone structure. And when a couch potato hits the gym, most of the pounding brought about by the exercises goes to the feet and ankles. This worsens when the ankles and feet are not given enough time to repair themselves in between workouts.
The key to avoiding stress fracture is to gradually increase your workouts. If it is your first time to hit the gym, don’t overdo your exercises. Listen to your body, as any health expert would say. When you are tired, rest. Forcing yourself to finish a workout when you are exhausted may do more harm than good.
Wear proper shoes when going to the gym. Go to a sports shoe store and ask for the right footwear suited to your feet and the type of activity you plan to engage in.
Being aware of these common gym injuries should better prepare you for your trip to the gym. There are numerous gyms that you can sign up with, like Gold’s Gym which has been synonymous to celebrities, athletes and professional bodybuilders. If you want a less expensive option, try Fitness 19. This rapidly growing chain of fitness centers is becoming more popular in the United States due to its cheap rates and modern facilities.