Getting injuries from working out is more common than you’d think. The National Safety Council reports that exercising and using exercise equipment accounted for 409,224 injuries in 2021 alone.
Common exercise injuries include muscle pulls, sprains, and dislocations. While these are far from life-threatening, it’s still important to practice exercise safety. Below, we’ll discuss why and how you can do so.
The Importance of Exercise Safety
First and foremost, exercise safety is crucial to prevent the injuries stated above. Those injuries can be considered minor, but they will interfere with your daily life for some time. Getting injured may also discourage you from exercising, affecting your physical health.
Another reason why exercise safety is vital is that it optimizes your workouts. When you’re not in pain, you’ll be able to perform moves correctly and exercise for as long as you need. With that said, let’s move on to exercise safety practices.
How to Practice Exercise Safety
Stretch before working out
Stretching is often overlooked in favor of getting straight to the workout session. However, a physical therapist from Massachusetts emphasizes that it keeps the muscles flexible and strong, which is vital for mobility.
Conversely, a lack of stretching keeps the muscles short and tight. When the time comes to use them for exercise, you cannot extend them all the way. This may cause cramps—and in worst-case scenarios, ligament tears.
To avoid this, make sure to stretch all your limbs and your torso, too, before engaging in exercise.
Wear protective gear
There’s specific gear made for safer exercises. An example is weightlifting belts that brace the spine, which prevents back hyperextension and reduces stress on the lower back for safer and more efficient lifting.
In sports like football and skateboarding, safety pads and guards are used to prevent sprains, strains, and fractures. Meanwhile, the right running shoes can prevent issues like foot pain and overuse injuries.
Investing in protective gear allows for safer exercise as these are designed to reduce physical stress on your body.
Use gym equipment as intended
The improper use of exercise equipment is dangerous as it can lead to accidents. For instance, running backwards on a treadmill will cause you to fall.
Another is putting uneven weights on barbells. This disrupts your balance, resulting in bad falls. That said, ask a gym employee to demonstrate how to use a particular machine when you’re unsure.
If you workout at home, research and watch videos to guide you through the proper use of gym equipment.
What to do when you get an injury
Despite following the practices above, injuries can still occur because of repetitive movements, improper form, and similar factors.
If you get a workout injury, have it treated immediately because it can worsen over time. If it is difficult to physically go to a healthcare facility due to pain, you can use telehealth to access care from your home.
One of the many professionals that can help you include nurse practitioners. Since these master’s or doctorate nursing majors are trained to treat you virtually at the same standard as in-person care, they’re qualified to assess you, suggest treatment options, and monitor your condition over time.
You can use telehealth to access out-of-state care by speaking with remote nurse practitioners from Ohio and other states such as New York or California, who have advanced knowledge in urgent care for non-emergency cases like injuries.
You should expect to answer questions about your injury and the possibility of sending photos or videos of swelling or other external factors.
Exercising is essential to maintain health, as emphasized in our post ‘Research Shows How Important Physical Activity Is.’ This is especially true as you age because it will help prevent diseases. Just remember to practice exercise safety at all times to reduce the risk of injuries.