Now that you’ve set up (or are in the process of setting up) your home gym, make sure you stay safe while using it.
It’s easy to find yourself with a pulled muscle or worse when working out alone because there’s no one to remind you to watch your form, take it slow…this, that and the next thing.
So consider this your reminder if you’re working out in your home gym! Be safe, not sorry.
Here are our dos and don’ts for working out safely at home:
Do: Make Sure You Have Enough Space
Even if your home gym is small, make sure you’ve cleared enough room to ensure you aren’t bumping into things. The last thing you want to do while exercising is bump a bookshelf and have that massive tome fall on your face. Or knock over that priceless (ugly) vase Grandma gave you…shudder.
Find a space where you can stretch out your arms and legs to their full extent, at the very least. Work with what you have, even if that means moving the coffee table out of the room. Consider it your warm up.
Speaking of warm ups…
Don’t: Skip the Warm Up
Just because you don’t have anyone watching you, making sure you take the time to warm up your joints and muscles, doesn’t mean you can skip it.
Skipping a warm up can lead to:
- Strains, sprains and even tears
- Increased muscle pain post-workout
- Limited mobility
- Less effective workouts
Don’t put yourself at risk by working out with cold muscles.
Do start slowly and speed up as you go.
Don’t warm up with static stretches. Move. Use your whole body and focus on dynamic movements.
Do a warm up that is specific to the sport or workout you have planned, but make sure you’re not neglecting any joints or muscles.
Do: Hydrate Well
Obviously drinking water is important. It’s doubly important if you’re working out, especially if you’re planning to get sweaty. When you’re dehydrated, neither your brain nor your body function optimally. Muscles can spasm or become inflamed and joints can’t be properly lubricated, which can lead to injury.
So, get the best workout you can, drink up.
Don’t: Overdo It
Sure, lifting heavy has serious health benefits, but lifting too heavy can set you back. If you’re not properly warmed up or your form isn’t quite right you can seriously hurt yourself by lifting too heavy. If you’ve ever moved and lifted a box (or 20) that was just a little too much for you and thrown out your back, you know it’s true.
And don’t be fooled, it isn’t just lifting that can lead to injury either. Pushing yourself too hard during cardiovascular exercise can also have negative consequences. When you hit the treadmill, or your cardio machine of choice, make sure you know your limits.
Regardless of what kind of exercise you’re doing, pace yourself. Make sure you’re progressing slowly and safely.
Do: Remember Proper Footwear
The right footwear is just as important at home as it is in the gym. Keeping your tootsies safe from harm is gym preparedness 101. Our shoes help protect our feet from falling weights, make some exercises easier, provide stability and shock absorption.
Now, there are times when we recommend doing exercises barefoot, but that’s a rabbit hole for another time. If you do choose to workout barefoot for your own reasons, please just make sure there’s no weight dropping happening around you and you’re careful not to stub any piggies.
Don’t: Forget to Cool Down and Stretch
Cooling down might not seem all that important, but it is arguably one of the most important parts of any workout.
Skipping a cool down puts you at risk for things like: more severe delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS), lightheadedness from blood pressure dips when exercise is stopped suddenly and other unwanted issues.
A nice cooldown can also be a helpful way to let go of stress and reset your mind. The key here is to go slow and explore what your muscles need. They just put in a ton of effort so why not reward them?
Do: Check In on Your Form
Whether you’re asking a friend or a professional to look at your form, it’s important to make sure you are doing things correctly when you’re working out. There’s no faster way to injury than by working out with bad form.
In the gym, there’s an endless string of people who can point out imperfections, not to mention walls full of mirrors that make it impossible for you to avoid looking at yourself, at home that’s likely not the case. So, invite a buddy over, schedule a maintenance/check in session with a personal trainer or, at the very least, take a video of yourself so that you can see what’s happening.
It’s not uncommon for us to feel like things are going well when, in actuality, we’re way off base when it comes to our movement patterns.
At the end of the day working out is supposed to help us live long and healthy lives. However, there’s a lot of room for error and injury. Injury will only set us and our goals back. So, take your time, make sure your space is safe, your muscles are warm and your approaching each exercise carefully and thoughtfully.
If you need help selecting the right equipment for your space in order to meet your wellness goals, or if you have doubts about your form, never hesitate to reach out. Our staff are here to help!