4 Most Common Gym Injuries and Ways to Prevent Them
Whether you are into cardio or resistance training, there is always the chance of being injured while working out at the gym.
Workout injuries can happen for a variety of reasons.
Regardless of what causes an injury, one thing is certain – you will not be able to exercise after pulling a muscle, spraining a joint or breaking a bone. Consequently, fitness goals come to a halt and participating in sports competitions becomes impossible.
The good news is that workout injuries are preventable. All you have to do is apply a few safety tips. With that in mind, this post will share a few tips to help you avoid some of the most common gym injuries. Keep reading to learn more.
1) Twisted Ankle
A sprained ankle is one of the most common types of injury incurred during gym workouts that involve a lot of footwork. For instance, you are likely to twist your ankle when running on a treadmill, during step aerobics or Zumba. Placing the foot partially on a treadmill platform or exercise step causes the ankle to roll in an unnatural direction under the weight of your body. This puts stress on ankle ligaments, which may even tear in severe cases.
The best way to prevent twisting your ankle at the gym is paying attention during aerobics workouts. Losing focus while working out increases the risk of sidestepping and twisting your ankle. In addition, ensure to turn off the treadmill as you step off the machine or when trying to pick up an item that falls on the floor. The risk of twisting your ankle can be further reduced by warming up prior to workouts as well as wearing a brace for support along with comfortable footwear. You can prevent recurring ankle sprains also by strengthening foot muscles through flexibility, strength training, and stretching workouts.
2) Shin Splints
Medial tibial stress syndrome, or better known as shin splints, refers to muscle inflammation that occurs along the inner edge of the tibia. Consequently, the major symptom of this injury is pain along the shinbone. In the worst cases, it can develop into a stress fracture that makes walking painful.
Shin splints are common among runners and people who engage in jumping exercises. They occur when you overexert muscles along the tibia. As a result, new runners or individuals who experience a sudden spike in jumping workouts are more likely to incur this kind of injury.
To avoid shin splints, increase the frequency and intensity of your workouts gradually, especially if you are new to exercising or have not been physically active for a while. Also, warm up before you start running or other leg exercises so as to prepare the muscles for exercise.
3) Knee Sprain
Patellofemoral syndrome, also known as runner’s knee, is a common injury that you can get from walking, running, jumping or exercises that involve squatting. This injury is usually accompanied with pain under the kneecap. You may also hear a popping or grating sound when it occurs, signifying that the knee cap has gone out of alignment.
When other muscles that support your body’s weight are weak, the knees take all the stress. Therefore, one of the best ways to prevent knee injuries is by making sure that stress from body weight is evenly distributed. To achieve this goal, consider performing exercises that strengthen other muscles that support the knees such as the hip flexors and quadriceps. If your knees are prone to chronic pain from a pre-existing medical condition like arthritis, opt for low impact exercises on a stationary bike or elliptical machine rather than the treadmill at the gym. Additionally, wearing proper footwear and supportive braces as well as not overloading when performing squatting exercises with weights can help to prevent knee injuries.
4) Distal Bicep Tendon Rupture
The distal bicep tendon connects to bones found at the elbow. It can rupture when you abruptly drop or attempt to curl a dumbbell or barbell that is too heavy. The tendon can tear partially or completely detach itself from the bone attachment, thus causing inflammation along with pain due to the gap left in front of the elbow.
A ruptured distal bicep tendon can make it painful to carry out simple day-to-day activities like carrying a bag of groceries or briefcase. Therefore, it is best to keep this injury from happening in the first place. You can achieve that by increasing the loads on your weights slowly as your strength levels increase over time. It also helps to have a spotter during weight training sessions at the gym in case you need assistance with weights that become too heavy to lift.
A twisted ankle, sprained knee, inflamed shin or ruptured distal bicep tendon are just but a few of the common injuries that occur in gyms. Whatever type of workouts comprise your fitness routine, it is important to know how gym injuries occur and what can be done to prevent them. By doing so, you will stay on track with fitness goals and avoid injuries that set you back weeks and sometimes even months before fully recovering.
7 Tips for Exercising Safely
Exercise and other forms of physical fitness can be positively life-changing in a number of ways. Your heart, lungs and other organs benefit, as do important physiological processes. Your mind becomes sharper, you lower your risk of contracting diabetes, cancer and heart disease, and you improve your self-esteem.
However, anytime you workout or exercise there is a chance you could become injured. The following 7 tips ensure that you exercise safely, receiving the most benefits and the fewest negative experiences.
1) Know your limits
You may have been an incredible athlete in the past. That may not be the case anymore. If you are over 40 years of age, the odds are you are not in the physical shape that you used to be when you were younger. Be honest with yourself. Understand your limits. Exercise is not effective unless you stress your body, but too much stress can lead to injury.
2) Get a spotter
This is absolutely crucial if you are strength training with a significant amount of weight. Exercises like the bench press could prove fatal if you overestimate your weightlifting ability and there is no one there to prevent a serious problem.
3) Mix up your routine
If you workout the same way, on the same days, in the same exact routines, it is easy for your mind to wander. You must be absolutely focused on whatever type of physical activity you are performing, or your drifting mind can raise the risk of injury.
4) Drink lots of water
This applies before, during and after you exercise. When your muscles begin to cramp, this is a sign that there is not enough water in your body for them to work properly. After exercise is over, hydration is needed for your muscles to repair themselves.
5) Keep an eye on the weather if you exercise outdoors
Hiking, biking and other activities that take place outdoors can become unsafe in a hurry when mother nature turns against you. Check the weather forecast in your area before you attempt to exercise outside.
6) Warm up before, cool down after
Warming up could mean alternating walking and jogging for 5 minutes. You don’t have to spend 30 minutes stretching, you just need to “get the juices flowing”. The same walking/jogging routine after you exercise allows your body the chance to cool down slowly, rather than dramatically.
7) If exercising outdoors, don’t forget sun protection
Whenever the topic of safety while exercising is brought up, most people instantly think of significant physical injuries. It is good to protect against broken bones and pulled muscles, but overexposure to the sun can create problems which last a lifetime.
After just 15 minutes, the sun’s UV rays on your skin have created enough healthy vitamin D for your entire day. After that, you need to use sun protection in the form of sunblock, sunglasses and some type of headgear to ensure that your habitual daylight exercise does not lead to skin cancer down the road. Long-sleeved pants and shirts should be considered as well.