Home Workout Safety Tips

Here are some tips to keep in mind that’ll help make your home workouts a great deal safer by limiting your chances of getting injured, especially if you’re just starting out:

 

Make Sure You Are Healthy Enough to Exercise.

Exercise SafetyCheck with your doctor first and make sure you’re good to go.  I can’t stress this enough.  This is a no-brainer, particularly if you have any chronic medical conditions.  Even if you don’t (as far as you know), it’s better to be safe than sorry.  You don’t want to find out that you have underlying heart problems while working out alone in your basement!

 

Wear the Right Gear.

Believe me, I’m the last person in the world you want fashion tips from, but I do know something about exercise clothing.  I always recommend comfortable, loose-fitting clothing for workouts.  You want them made of material that absorbs sweat from your skin.  I prefer those made of light cotton, but that’s up to you.  Never wear anything made of rubber or plastic. These do nothing but trap the sweat from your skin, causing your body to overheat.  This could cause dehydration, which can lead to serious health risks.

Proper Footwear

Besides your clothing, you also want to make sure you have the proper foot wear.  Be sure that your shoes fit well and provide the proper support for your body type and activity.  Trust me – don’t skimp when buying athletic shoes.  Lousy shoes can lead to all kinds of lower body injuries, especially if you plan on running or walking.  It’s worth the extra money to buy them from a store that specializes in athletic foot wear so you get the right ones.

 

Use Proper Exercise Form and Technique.

Performing exercises and other activity skills incorrectly is one of the most obvious safety concerns.  Poor exercise form pretty much guarantees you’ll get injured sooner or later.  Make it a priority to learn the proper form and technique of every exercise and activity you do.  Whether you learn from my site, or from a qualified personal trainer (I know a good one in the Philadelphia area!), you’ll save yourself a lot of aggravation (and pain!) by learning how to do your exercises correctly. 

 

Start Out Slowly. 

Doing too much too soon usually ends in injury and frustration.  This is especially true if you’re a beginner or haven’t exercised in a while. If that’s the case, you want to gradually increase the intensity and duration of your home workout exercises.  This means starting out with lighter weights and progressing to heavier ones over time.  It also means walk first, before you start running.  Get it?  Start out slow and ease into it – don’t worry, you’ll get there!  Best of all, you’ll get there in one piece.

 

Listen to Your Body and Know When to Stop.

You should expect a certain level of discomfort as you do your home workouts.  After all, it’s a workout, not a relaxing massage.  You might even have a little muscle soreness a day or two later, especially after strength training.  This is all perfectly normal and goes with the territory.

 

Exercise Safety 2But if you’re experiencing sharp pain or any other unusual symptoms during your workout, take it as a warning sign that something’s wrong and stop what you’re doing.  Such red flags include (but not limited to): chest pain, left arm pain, dizziness, cold sweats, nausea and a racing heart.  These are all signs that you need to immediately stop exercising and get medical help if necessary.

 

Drink Plenty of Water.

Be sure to drink enough water – before, during and after your workout.  This is especially important if you’re engaging in strenuous outdoor activities in the heat.  Dehydration can lead to serious health problems and is nothing to mess with.  For a typical exercise session where you’re perspiring normally, 1 to 2 cups of water should do the trick.  However, intense exercise lasting more than an hour requires more fluid intake.  In that case, make sure you have an adequate supply on hand.

 

Include a Proper Warm Up and Cool Down.

A warm up prepares your body for exercise by increasing blood flow to your working muscles.  Any easy-paced cardiovascular activity works just fine for warming up. You can choose walking, jogging, jumping rope, biking, – whatever it takes to break a sweat.   Trust me – it’s a very wise investment of 5 minutes to help prevent injuries.

 

A cool down is basically the opposite of a warm up – its purpose is to return your body back to normal. Cool downs are generally associated with cardiovascular exercise.  To cool down, you simply reduce the intensity of your activity for the last 2-3 minutes. This helps prevent the dizziness that sometimes comes with abruptly stopping a workout.  Complete your cool down with some stretching exercises to help your muscles recover.

 

Use Caution With Barbell Exercises.

If you plan to use a barbell set for strength training, you need to be careful with certain exercises, especially Exercise Safety 4if you’ll be doing your home workout alone.  Exercises such as the bench press and squats should be done with a spotter (another person to assist you), just in case you get stuck completing a repetition.  It’s a bad feeling to have a barbell stuck on your chest and nobody’s around.  Don’t put yourself in that situation.  Either make sure you have someone there with you, or use dumbbells which are a safer bet.

 

 

It’s well worth the time to take a few extra precautionary steps to make sure your home workout routine is as safe as possible so you don’t hurt yourself.  There’s always the risk of injury with just about any activity. But if you can cut that risk down, why not do it?

 

I hope that helps,

Paul

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