Keeping Fitness Safe
Nothing is worse than busting your butt to become healthier and stronger and then deal yourself a setback with an injury. Injuries are surprisingly common with fitness programs but most are entirely avoidable. Some get sidelined early in their exercise career, while others are knocked out after a period of time. Let me offer some of the top safety tips for your workouts to help keep you in the game.
Be progressive. This means to start slow and slowly build intensity. Jumping from the couch to a 3 mile run can easily bring on shin splints. The same goes for pumping iron. You cannot go from cranking out 12-ounce curls to 50-pound dumbbells, without running the risk of a strain or sprain. So try to tame your obsessive-compulsive tendencies for a few weeks, and use common sense when increasing your activity level to allow your body to get used to it.
Learn proper form for long-term safety. Common injuries with exercisers are tendonitis, strains or sprains that linger, or in worst cases herniated discs. It all starts with a little “tweak” that worsens over time because too much stress is being placed on your body from doing exercises the wrong way. Over time, incorrectly performed leg exercises can lead to knee pain when you are squatting or taking stairs. There are a bunch of upper body exercises that can lead to a nagging shoulder pain. And sloppy body mechanics/posture during exercise can land you horizontal with a bad back.
I cringe when I observe some of the crap you see people doing, or what unqualified trainers are having their clients performing. There are too many people putting together their own programs by reading fitness magazines, or copying the person who looks like they know what they are doing in the gym, but don’t. And men are hands-down the worst! One of the most threatening exercises is also the most commonly incorrectly performed, the straight-leg deadlift.
Keep an eye on the kids. Horseplay and improperly established programs are the biggest risk for your young athlete, in addition to the aforementioned threats. A team of players unsupervised in a weight room is an injury brewing. The same goes for conditioning programs established by someone whose qualifications are that they participated in sports 25 years ago. Sports conditioning is a science and programs need to be established and performed under the guidance of a professional. A properly established program is safer than most sports activities and will help prevent injuries on the playing field. Sensible Fitness has been spotlighted in Newsweek magazine for our children’s programs, we are so proud!
Safety against the micro-critters. The gym is an excellent place to build a strong immune system with resistance training, but do not overtrain. Wash your hands before and after the workout, cough and sneeze in your elbow, and don’t touch your mouth or eyes. You old-school guys need to get rid of the disgusting germ-filled handkerchief. Use, and throw away after each use, a tissue. And slap some hand sanitizer on your paws after doing so.