New Year’s resolutions are everywhere and the number one resolution is to lose weight and get back to the gym. Gym memberships soar and the inactive and out-of-shape are suddenly all over the gym. It is noble to want to get into shape but be aware of the risks of jumping in too quickly or carelessly; a study from the University of Arkansas found that there has been a 35 percent increase in gym accidents in recent years.
In 2009 alone, there were thousands of visits to the emergency room for gym related accidents; 1500 trips for equipment related accidents, 50,000 trips for home exercise equipment issues like falling off of or tripping on or over a treadmill or exercise ball (575), being smacked in the face by an elastic workout band or dropping free weights on your feet (224). Many accidents are caused by distraction from Ipods, cell phones and reading while using equipment, unfamiliarity with the equipment or working out too hard (lifting too much weight too many times) after a long period of being sedentary. Always keep your wits about you, read safety instructions on new equipment and start slow with light weights and repetition and build up over time.
One of the best things you can do to prevent gym accidents is to hire a certified personal trainer to make sure you are using the right techniques (many gyms will offer a free mini-session to get you started).
Avoid and Prevent the Top 5 Gym Injuries
Believe it or not, many gym accidents are caused to parts of our body because of excessive sitting and typing at the computer during the work day. The first thing to do is adjust your work computer screen so that you are not straining or hunching to see it. Your line of sight should be straight ahead, not aimed up or down. Practice good posture; poor posture during the day weakens your entire musculoskeletal structure over time.
- Foot Injuries: When your shoulders are rounded and you stand up, your weight falls to the front of your foot. Buy workout shoes that aren’t too high in the heel like a walking shoe, cross trainer or tennis shoe. A shoe that helps you balance the weight of your foot can help you avoid injuries such as Plantar Fasciitis, Achilles Tendonitis, Anterior Compartment Syndrome, Lateral Compression Syndrome and bunions.
- Knee Injuries: To prevent knee injuries try strengthening your knees by performing lunges forward and backward and side to side. As your hip and ankle bend together, your knee is stabilized.
- Lower Back Injuries: To prevent lower back injuries work on stretching and strengthening your upper back. Sit against a wall and flatten your lower back into the wall, by tilting your pelvis under you. Stretch your arms out in front of you then try to raise arms up to your ears while keeping the gap closed behind your lower back. Also do squats with your back flat against the wall and work and focus on pulling your stomach in toward your belly button (core strengthening) while doing any workout exercise.
- Shoulder Injuries: Between typing all day then going to the gym and doing chest and shoulder presses your shoulders are at serious risk of developing Supraspinatus Tendonitis, an injury caused by overuse of your rotator cuff. The best prevention is to make sure you are rotating your arms externally; you can do this by rowing with cables. Grab the cables in front of you and pull your arms toward you while rotating your palms out and away from your torso.
- Neck Injuries: Sitting with rounded shoulders leads to an arched neck and neck pain. When you do the bench press, ensure your lower back and neck are properly supported. Avoid extra stress on your neck; don’t do exercises that require you to raise your arms over your head. Another tip is to strengthen your mid and upper back (lower trapezoids). Reverse shrugs are particularly helpful: grab the lat bar in front of you and do straight arm pull downs just to your shoulder blades-move the bar out to just in front of you by three-four inches.
If you or a loved one were injured in an accident, you have enough to deal with. Let an experienced accident attorney fight for the full compensation that you deserve. It is not uncommon to receive a settlement from the insurance company that is five to ten times bigger with the help of a lawyer. Call the caring accident attorneys at Tario & Associates, P.S. in Bellingham, WA today for a FREE consultation! We have been representing residents of Whatcom County, Skagit County, Island County and Snohomish County since 1979. You will pay nothing up front and no attorney fees at all unless we recover damages for you!