As a new year begins, people will be flocking to gyms to get a good jump on their fitness goals. This will find more people of varying levels of experience moving heavy loads through a confined space. Oh! You've got that new shiny treadmill or weight bench for home? Then, in your case, there's risk in pushing the envelope of physical endurance without someone nearby in case of physical or equipment failure. Either way, it's a good idea to keep safety in mind when engaging in a fitness activity. Here are some ideas:
Before You Start:
- Get a checkup from your doctor prior to beginning any exercise or diet program.
In the Gym:
- Be aware of your surroundings both when exercising and moving through the gym.
- Fitness Machines:
- Understand the purpose of each machine and how they work. If you are unsure, ask an employee at the gym.
- Start off with a very light weight to get accustomed to the movement, making sure you are engaging the correct muscles/ muscle groups. Then add weight as desired.
- Free Weights, Plate-Loaded Equipment, and Squat Rack:
- Use a live spotter.
- Employ safety stops. (e.g. Leg Press)
- Utilize spotter bars. (e.g. Squat Rack)
- Mechanized Equipment (Treadmills, Elipticals, Stair Climbers, etc...):
- Wear the Emergency Stop Tether.
- Locate the Emergency Stop Button before you start.
- Know when to use hand-rails and when not to use them. (This will vary by machine and activity)