Five ways to avoid injury at the gym

·2-min read

If you've just joined a gym, getting to know all of the equipment and how it works can be rather daunting.

But in order to avoid injury, it is important to take your time and reach out for professional advice when you need it.

Ann Kuan, senior private physiotherapist at Vita Health Group (vitahealthgroup.co.uk), shares her top tips for getting the most out of your exercise sessions.

Commit to a warm-up

Before starting any type of exercise, it's important to warm up with dynamic stretches.

"These are active movements that put your body through a range of motions, and flexibility of the muscle groups you'll be using," she said. "Benefits include far fewer injuries, as well as achieving greater power, and a more efficient workout."

Progress at a steady pace

If you're trying to increase the amount of exercise you do, whether to lose weight or build muscle, be sure to only raise the frequency and intensity at a steady pace that your body can handle.

"The key here is to gradually improve your volume over time, and don't be afraid to drop back down," the expert explained.

Rank your pain level

If you experience discomfort while exercising, take a moment to ask yourself how bad it is.

"It's important to seek medical assistance immediately if your injury is impacting your daily routines, but, if the pain is mild, consider trying a lower intensity workout for a while," noted Ann. "Additionally, consider also using ice, heat, or relief balms to get the pain under control."

Avoid sitting for hours on end

No matter how fit and strong you are, back pain is common in even the most sedentary actions.

"For instance, working from the kitchen table, sofa, or even your bed is far from beneficial for your posture. Even sitting at a desk for long periods of time can have negative consequences. The best ways to avoid back pain are to take advice on ergonomic set-up solutions and get up for multiple breaks throughout the day," she stated.

Don't forget self-care

Among the most important tips to avoid gym-related injuries is to practice self-care.

"If you're suffering from a little discomfort, worry and stress can exacerbate the pain," added Ann. "If you're unsure as to the extent of any damage, it may be beneficial to visit a professional to seek clarification. Otherwise, following self-care habits like mindfulness and meditation can help to reduce anxiety and even alleviate physical pain."

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