Few things feel better than a gym workout. Soreness aside, it’s one of the best things you can do for your personal health and wellness. But as many experienced fitness fanatics know, you also run the risk of sustaining injury while working out at the gym. These injuries can range from mild to serious, and sometimes, they occur because the gym in question hasn’t taken the appropriate precautions.
Is it easy to prevent gym injuries? You can definitely reduce the possibility getting them. Above all, as recommended by most exercise and fitness facilities, consult a doctor and receive a regular check-up before embarking on a fitness regime. The more rigorous your training is, the more detail you need to provide your doctor.
Here are some of the more common injuries you can sustain at a gym:
- Stress fractures
- Lower back injuries
- Shoulder injuries
- Knee and joint pain
- Dehydration and overheating
How to reduce your chances of being injured:
- Stretching – warming up and loosening up your muscles before a workout goes a long way towards preventing muscle-related injuries.
- Building a foundation – Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither will you. You need to work up to an intense workout. If you overdo cardio or weight lifting before your body is conditioned, it can result in many of the injuries listed above.
- Proper exercise equipment and support equipment – if you’re not wearing the right gear for the right workout, you’re also risking getting hurt. Wear support belts to prevent lower back issues when lifting, make sure your shoes are in good condition for running and cardio, and make sure your workout clothes are comfortable and aren’t a tripping hazard.
- Proper form – it’s important to talk to a certified professional at your gym and have them show you how to perform the exercises in your fitness routine. The wrong posture, movement or rest time between repetitions can make all the difference in your physical comfort and safety.
However, you can do everything right and still receive injuries, and this can result from the gym facility’s negligence. Here are some common causes of injuries where the gym could potentially be at fault (and note that this won’t necessarily mean that the gym is legally liable):
- Faulty and poorly maintained equipment
- Slips and falls from slick floors
- Lack of properly certified trainers and staff
- Disease from negligent sanitary conditions
- Failure to post warnings, rules and disclaimer signs
- Lack of emergency medical training or response plans
If you encounter injuries for these or any other reasons that you believe the gym holds the responsibility, here are some things you can do. First, most gyms make you sign comprehensive disclaimers and liability forms. Make sure you retain your copies of these documents. If your injury doesn’t debilitate you or require immediate medical attention, see if you can take pictures on your smartphone of the conditions that may have caused the injury. If at the time you were not working out with a friend or acquaintance, take notice of anyone who may have witnessed the incident. Contact a personal injury attorney immediately to begin documenting your case and help you get the needed restitution.
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AB: Alex is a writer at The Law Offices of W.T. Johnson in Dallas, Texas. He goes to the gym regularly and wants to know how to avoid injuries.