When I was studying to get my certification as a personal trainer, there was a lot of information about making sure that the workout space was safe. At the gym where I worked, we were pretty conscientious about keeping equipment in working order and either posting a sign that something was broken or removing it from the fitness center altogether. It is all about keeping safe and preventing injuries.
While some gyms are better at this than others, now that so many of us are working out at home, what should we do to make sure our space is in optimal condition to prevent possible injuries? A recent article on CNN.com answers this very question.
The author, Melanie Radzicki McManus outlines several issues of which we should be aware. Some are fairly self-evident, but others often overlooked. Here are the main ideas:
- Check the space for potential dangers. This could be electric cords, rugs that move, ceilings that are too low, furniture that is too close together to allow room for proper movement. Make adjustments accordingly.
- Wear proper athletic attire. Bare feet (or only wearing socks) is hazardous for a number of reasons. Clothing should fit properly to allow for movement, but not be so big that it is a tripping hazard (like really long pajamas!).
- Hire a personal trainer (yes!!!). At home, it is often harder to know if form is correct, if the weights are too heavy or not heavy enough. It is also easy to overtrain by not allowing muscle groups to recover. A fitness professional can help avoiding those pitfalls and there are many excellent ones who have mastered the art of virtual training, or who may come to your home.
- Remember what comes before and after the workout. Warming up the muscles before, and cooling down and stretching afterwards are important to preventing injury. Just because it is a home workout does not mean this can be skipped.
- Prepare for the unlikely event that you do get injured. If someone else is at home, this is less of a problem, but for those who are alone it is helpful to have a cellphone nearby in case an emergency call needs to be made.
- Get outside. A home workout can also take place in nature–as long as the factors above are taken into consideration. Brisk walking, bike riding, yoga, etc., in the great outdoors is wonderful exercise and exhilirating. Remember the sunscreen!
Despite the ongoing surges and lulls in the pandemic, people are getting out a little more. Even so, it looks like gyms may be the among the last places to see a real comeback. If the choice is made to stay at home, remember to keep it safe. There will be no fitness professionals to remove faulty equipment or help with the proper form; there may also not be someone there to see if you are injured. Take the proper steps and enjoy great workouts at home!