Common Gym Injuries and
How to Prevent Them
By Indy Summers
We work out to improve our bodies and health, but those same exercises can harm our muscles and joints. Safety is one necessary precaution. However, injuries can occur to anyone, including professional athletes, so your fitness level doesn’t protect you from harm.
Pain Is Not Gain: A Word of Caution
An old saying athletes and exercise enthusiasts toss around is “Pain is gain.” While pushing yourself can build endurance, exercise should not cause pain or injury. A gentle warmth or slight burn lets you know your muscle group is activated and working properly. On the other hand, pain is your body’s first defense mechanism screaming for you to stop.
Common Exercise Injuries
Lower and upper back muscles are highly susceptible to strains and sprains because the muscle group is almost in constant use when exercising. However, when you strain or pull out your back, it occurs because you have over exerted the muscles. The degree of damage varies, but an overworked muscle will tear easily, which can lead to a more serious injuries like a pulled back muscle.
Prevent upper and lower back sprains by:
- Not over extending when lifting weights
- Not lifting more than your body can support
- Gradually increasing weight
- Practicing good posture at all times during your exercise program and throughout the day
- Not lifting from your back
- Stopping if you feel pain, pinching, or a tingling
You can sprain your neck in a number of ways while exercising. Over 20 muscles connect and shift when you move your neck. Your neck muscles might be the most injury prone muscle group in your body because you can injure it at any time. Furthermore, neck sprains can present hours after you’ve completed your workout, which can make it difficult for you to correlate the injury to exercise.
Prevent neck sprains by:
- Taking care of your neck when starting a new activity or exercise program
- Always practicing good posture
- Varying your workouts
- Avoid repetition or awkward motions
- Getting proper sleep
Preventing Gym-Related Injuries
Stretch and Cool Down
Most advice considers properly warming up and cooling down as a prevention method because it does provide your body a chance to acclimate slowly to exercise or back to a resting state.
You should avoid working out the same muscle groups daily. Repetition is a leading cause of injury because you’re overworking the muscles instead of allowing them to rest.
Know Your Body
Everyone has personal limitations. While you can create a workout goal to overcome some limits, some people have limitations they can’t work around or build endurance to conquer. These range from disabilities to conditions like arthritis. Don’t ignore your limitations and listen to your body. One more rep when your body is in pain can be the difference between staying healthy and an injury.
A personal trainer can go a long way when it comes to injury prevention. First, their job is to ensure you’re properly performing exercises. Second, their job is to develop workout routines that will push your body without breaking it. Third, their training makes them a unique asset that will keep you motivated while maintaining your safety.
Whether you enjoy aerobics, yoga, weight training, or any combination of exercise, you should be aware of the most commonly injured areas of your body and take extra care when working out those muscle groups. No method or prevention tactic will be foolproof, so if an injury should occur, you should stop your exercise and seek treatment. Preventing injuries is key to not only exercising pain free, but to protecting your body from further, more severe injury too.