Well, it’s that time of year again when everyone tells themselves that they should be getting back into shape. Getting a fresh physical start for the New Year is pretty common for most people, and hopefully the effort can be sustained beyond those first few workouts. Having a home gym is great way to work up a sweat, but you do have to apply a little caution to stay safe.
One of the biggest obstacles to starting any exercise program is convenience. Having a simple gym set-up in your own home makes the process easier, with no commuting, membership fees or waiting for machines at a crowded commercial facility to add to your stress. Generally, the most common injuries that occur to people are sports related and involve muscular strains and sprains. Working out at home is no exception, but you can help to offset the risk with a little common sense.
First Things First
Before you do anything, you’ll need to determine what your fitness goals are and then plan accordingly. This will help you decide how much space you’ll need and the type of equipment required. Do a bit of research, start conservatively and speak with someone who knows what they’re doing. The last thing you want is room full of gear that will end up just collecting dust.
No Pain, No Gain
Not necessarily. Getting into shape does require some effort, but not to the point of injury. Here are a few tips to help take care of your body.
- Before you start any kind of fitness regimen, it’s always a good idea to get clearance from your doctor, especially if you have any pre-existing conditions
- Be sure to educate yourself on exercise type, technique, duration, intensity etc. through a reliable source like a personal trainer. Just ‘winging it’ can increase your risk of injuring yourself.
- Establish an actual exercise program that outlines each of the activities involved, and includes progression. If all of this is new to you, start slowly and build up the intensity over time. Better safe than sorry.
- Leave your ego at the door and don’t push too hard to start. If most of your time has been spent surfing the couch lately, the last thing you need is to have a discouraging experience or an injury right out of the gate.
- Be sure to eat properly to maintain your energy level while working out and drink plenty of water to stay hydrated
- Always wear comfortable clothing and footwear, designed specifically for sports, while working out
- Ensure that you warm up and cool down properly with each session to help avoid injury
- Where possible, train with a friend or family member to help pass the time, assist (spot) you with heavy lifting and to be there if an accident occurs
- Allow sufficient time in between your exercises for rest and recovery. Pace yourself and listen to your body.
- Be sure to regularly clean your exercise equipment to keep germ free. With all of the sweat that you work up, an occasional disinfection goes a long way in promoting a healthy environment.
Equipment & Gym Safety
Now that you have your exercise plan in-place, you should consider these basic rules to make sure that your home gym doesn’t present any unwanted hazards.
- Don’t go the cheap route when buying home gym equipment. You get what you pay for, and you won’t want to jeopardize your safety.
- Be sure to thoroughly read the instructions for your equipment to have a clear understanding of its operation and maintenance
- Inspect your equipment regularly to ensure that it’s always in good working condition. Check any fasteners, welds, cords and moving parts like cables or pulleys.
- Always check to make sure that pins are fully inserted on select-stack weight machines and that collars on free weights are secure before you begin to lift or press
- As a general rule, keep unattended children out of the gym area to avoid any potential accidents. Where possible, keep equipment locked out, unplugged and folded to limit access and temptation.
- Be sure to use the safety key/kill switch on treadmill machines. Attach it to your clothing so that it works the way that it’s supposed to in the event of a fall. Keep the key out of the reach of children to prevent them from starting it up.
- Always stack free weights securely and never leave them in an unstable position
- Keep the floor of your home gym clean and free of clutter to help avoid any slips and trips
- Ensure that your gym area has adequate lighting for safety and proper ventilation to maintain a healthy atmosphere
Regular exercise has huge health benefits. You’ll feel better, look better and you can reduce your risk of injury by following these simple safety tips.