Workout or gym training is not just a good way to burn excessive calories, but it also is a kind of stress relieving activity which improves your mental health. However, one must be cautious during their gym training session to stay safe.
Ignoring health and safety rules could result in serious injuries or death. This month’s ‘Safety First’ offers some simple tips to stay safe, fit and healthy!
Are You Medically Fit for Fitness Training?
An average healthy person can safely perform a moderate level of physical exercise without facing any adverse effects. Nonetheless, it is recommended to consult your family physician before starting a new exercise routine, especially if you have any pre-existing medical conditions. Be careful if you have recovered from a severe injury which may impede in performing a particular exercise e.g. heavy weight lifting etc. Gym workout should be performed under supervision of a qualified fitness instructor.
Remember! Aggressive workout when sick could cause permanent damage. Return to the gym only after you have fully recovered. You should also be extremely cautious with workout practice during heat waves. Gym training in extremely high temperatures intensifies the risk of heat exhaustion.
Aggression is Dangerous – Be Gentle!
Excessive aggression cannot help achieve your goals and gym training is no exception! Particularly the new and overly motivated gym goers are well known for making this mistake. Begin slowly and gradually increase the frequency, load, and duration of your exercise. While it is good to exercise regularly, overwork does more harm than good. Take adequate rest to let your sore muscles heal. Start your gym training session with a warm up i.e. light exercise and end it with 5 – 10 minutes of cooldown by lightly stretching your muscles. Warm up reduces the risk of injuries by preparing your body for heavy workout while cooling down is necessary to prevent sudden drop in blood pressure level.
STOP training if you begin to feel dizzy, experience blurred vision, confusion, dizziness, shortness of breath or severe chest pain. It is advisable to seek medical attention if your condition gets worse or you do not feel better after that.
Follow the Safety Rules – Listen to your Trainer
Whether you just joined a gym or are about to use a new machine you have never used before, it is very important to learn to use it by reading safety instructions. Treadmills, leg press machines and elliptical trainers should be used with caution. Even the simple machines like barbells and bench press can cause serious injuries, when improperly used. Do not just rely on user manual and online tutorials; it is always good to learn to properly use these machines by observing a qualified gym trainer. Hard and potentially dangerous exercises should be supervised. Avoid doing gym workout alone, somebody needs to be present to help you in an emergency situation.
Keep the machines well maintained
Poorly maintained machines also contribute to gym accidents. It is the gym manager’s job to keep all those machines in perfect working condition. The workout zone should also be kept clean having adequate space to move around with marked emergency exits. Gym users also need to watch out for broken equipment which may be unsafe to use. Unfit equipment must be taken out of service. Particularly electric exercise equipment should only be serviced by authorized professionals to minimize the risk of electric shock or any other injury it may cause due to malfunctioning. Wearing appropriate clothes and footwear also mitigate the risk of serious injury.
Diet Matters – Dos & Don’ts
Fitness experts believe that it is 80% nutrition and 20% exercise to get the most out of physical exercise. While it is important to watch out for safety hazards to avoid gym accidents, eating a balanced and healthy diet is just as important to stay fit without compromising your health.
Patience is a virtue: Prefer natural protein rich food. It may not deliver ‘instant results’ but does not compromise your health in the long run.
Stay hydrated; drink plain water and fresh fruit juices to replenish body fluids lost in training exercise.
Eating a balanced diet is recommended. Consult your physician or a nutritionist for expert advice
Fresh fruits and vegetables should be included in your diet.
For those on a weight loss program may require some diet modification to compensate for essential vitamin and mineral deficiency due to their restricted diet plan.
Say No to Steroids! Anabolic steroids are strictly banned for professional bodybuilders and athletes because of their adverse health effects. Never take them even if you do not intend to participate in a professional competition requiring dope tests.
Avoid ‘super protein supplements’ claiming to provide ‘instant results’. Easy gain could cost you heavy pain!
Do not eat against medical advice. If your physician restricts you from eating certain food, e.g. red meat or milk, do not consume it only to get muscle power. Know your food allergies and look for alternatives.
Do not starve – those on a weight loss program are required to cut calories but this should be done gradually and in a safe manner under professional supervision.
Do not drink alcoholic, strong caffeinated and carbonated soda drinks.
Last but not the least point of this safety and health guide is to maintain personal hygiene. Public gyms, particularly their toilets and shower cubicles, are potential hotspots of contiguous disease transmission. While it is nearly impossible to entirely eliminate these health hazards, you can still minimize them by following some simple hygiene practices.
Do not share your towels, soap, hairbrush, earphones, shower sandals or anything which could transmit germs.
Changing clothes after returning from a public gym and regularly washing them could be very helpful
Choose a gym with adequate ventilation as dark and damp workout areas are perfect breeding sites for pathogenic bacteria.
Avoid touching your mouth, nose or eyes as your hands may be contaminated with harmful bacteria and viruses.
Wash your hands before eating anything, keeping a hand sanitizer in your gym bag is a good idea.
Gym floors, toilets and showers, and equipment should regularly be cleaned with disinfectant to kill harmful bacteria and viruses.
We hope that you will follow these simple yet practical safety tips to enjoy a safe and effective gym training routine. Staying safe should always be your first priority.
Do not learn safety by accident!