Adapting a regular workout routine, whether you visit the gym, play team sports, or workouts at home, can offer you a wide variety of benefits. People who engage in active lifestyles often feel happier, maintain healthy muscles and bones, exhibit increased energy levels, and improve their quality of sleep.
However, when done carelessly, working out can actually do more harm than good. Those engaged in improper exercising can endanger their health in unforeseen ways.
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Here are 3 ways to stay safe while working out:
- Use the Right Equipment
Working out encompasses a wide variety of activities, so having specialized equipment for each one will ensure you are able to comfortably and safely enjoy your workout.
For example, if you are a runner, make sure you have a quality pair of running shoes that will support your feet during long runs on rough terrain.
Athletes engaged in high contact sports, like American football or ice hockey, are at risk for concussions, broken bones, and other serious injuries. Use your judgment and wear shoulder pads, helmets, and any other equipment that is appropriate for the sport you are playing.
Even less serious issues, like chipped or dislodged teeth, can occur if you choose to forgo wearing the proper gear. Investing in safety equipment, such as mouth guards, will help you avoid an unexpected visit to an emergency dental clinic.
If you are ever unsure about the equipment you should be using, consult teammates, coaches, or online research to keep yourself and others around you safe.
- Know Your Limits
Most of us aren’t Olympic athletes, and that’s perfectly okay! With that in mind, it is important to acknowledge your athletic limitations. No one knows your own limitations better than you do. Listen to your body, and never push through a workout if you are experiencing abnormal or unmanageable levels of pain. Take breaks in between your workouts to avoid small muscle tears and fractures.
This step is especially relevant to those engaged in weightlifting. Always use proper weightlifting form and slowly increase the weight you are lifting over a long period of time to avoid unnecessary muscle strain.
This step is also important for those who interact with others during physical activity. For example, if you are a novice to a sport like a karate, spar with someone of similar skill level so you are not overpowered or pushed beyond what you are physically capable of. Alternatively, work with an expert who is properly trained to teach you techniques that are essential to keeping you safe while participating in the sport.
If you have experienced an injury, don’t feel the need to jump back into exercising as soon as possible. Allow your body to heal itself, and listen to the advice of your physician.
- Be Mindful of Your Environment
Exercising in humid and hot weather can lead to dehydration and raise your core body temperature to dangerous levels. Wear light, loose clothing in these conditions to minimize the risk of overheating. If the weather is especially hot during the middle of the day, try your best to exercise indoors or during cooler times of the day. Drink plenty of water before, during, and after your workout to stay properly hydrated.
Working out in extremely cold weather can be similarly damaging to your health. Stay warm and avoid hypothermia by wearing an adequate number of layers during your outdoor workout.
Make sure you stay safe and get the most out of your workout by being aware of these 3 tips during all of your workouts!