Whether you are a dedicated athlete or a weekend warrior, you are no doubt familiar with many common exercise injuries – sprains, strains, and torn muscles chief among them. However, a trip to the gym or fitness center can end in a trip to the hospital if certain safety standards aren’t met or are ignored. The following list covers six common ways to get injured in slip-and-fall accidents at the gym, along with advice to help prevent those accidents.
1.) Not using exercise equipment correctly. When you first join a gym, ask for a tour with a gym employee. The employee will show you how to use each machine correctly, including how to get on and off the machine and how to change settings. During the tour, ask questions about any directions you don’t understand. Test out each machine while you are with the employee to make sure you are using it correctly. Once you are on your own, take note of any instructions printed on the machine and follow them carefully.
2.) Slippery exercise machines. Before you use any gym equipment, examine it for potential hazards. For instance, did the person who used the machine before you not wipe his sweat off the handlebars or grips? Did someone spill water or a sports drink on the machine? If any part of the machine you will be grasping, sitting on, or standing on appears wet or damp, wipe it off before you use it. To be extra careful, wipe down all machines prior to using them.
3.) Inappropriate footwear. Always wear appropriate footwear to the gym. Sandals, open-toed shoes, and dress shoes are all big no-no’s when it comes time to exercise. Wear a pair of well-fitting sneakers and double knot your laces to make sure they don’t come untied and become a trip hazard or get tangled up in machines.
4.) Weather conditions. Has it rained or snowed recently? Was the parking lot wet from the sprinklers? Be aware of conditions and react accordingly. If your shoes are wet when you enter the building, be sure to wipe them off thoroughly using the mats at the front entrance. If you know beforehand that the weather will be bad, pack a pair of workout shoes you can change into once you get to the gym. Also, be alert for puddles others track in from outdoors on their shoes.
5.) Slippery pool areas. If your gym or fitness center has a pool, use extra caution. Taking a dip can be a lot of fun and also great exercise, but it can be dangerous if you aren’t careful. Wear nonskid footwear while you are in the pool area. Heed the advice of any signage warning about wet floor hazards. Be sure to firmly grip the handrails when getting into or out of the water.
6.) Slippery showers, steam rooms, and saunas. Just like pools, showers, steam rooms and saunas require extra caution due to potentially slick surfaces. When you hit the showers after a workout, wear flip flops or water shoes to provide traction when you walk. If you choose to indulge in a visit to the steam room or sauna, keep those flip flops handy! Use a towel to open the door when you enter or exit the steam room or sauna so you don’t lose your grip on a slippery door handle.
Gym equipment, pools, and showers all harbor potential dangers, so approach each with caution during your exercise sessions. The more aware you are of potential hazards, the more likely you are to spot them and prevent injuries to yourself and others. Everyone has different fitness goals, but one goal we should all have in common is safety.