Top Hazards in the Gym
Going to the gym is the only solution to keep up your fitness training during the cold seasons. As autumn approaches, more people are signing up for the gym knowing that the warm sunny days will not last much longer. In theory, the gym is a safe place where you can work out in comfort, protected from the elements and under the supervision of trained staff.
In reality, there are lots of hazards in the gym room – even in the best maintained and equipped ones. Being aware of these hazards and taking all preventive measures to avoid them will certainly save you from a lot of unpleasant situations, from a rash infection, to mild to serious injury.
Therefore, today we will present you with a list of the most frequent and dangerous hazards you could encounter in the gym. It is possible that you’ve never experienced such problems in your favourite gym, but it always pays off to be extra careful. Let’s go:
- The Locker
The first hazard you may encounter in a gym is located in the locker and change room. They should be properly cleaned and sanitized, but this depends on the diligence of the owners. At any rate, the inside of the individual lockers is rarely cleaned to a satisfactory level. Every item of clothing you place on the bottom of the locker or on the shelves risks getting contaminated with various germs. The best and simplest solution for avoiding this is to place all your clothing and personal item in a sports bag or even a plastic shopping bag.
- The Swiss Ball
The large, inflated ball is very useful for various fitness exercises. However, in order to be safe for you to use it, the ball must be properly inflated. You can recognize a properly inflated gym ball by the fact that you cannot press your hand down into it and it offers a firm surface to sit on.
Partially deflated balls feel squishy when you sit on them. They don’t offer you adequate support and may cause you to slip and fall off them while doing an exercise. In the worst case scenario, the ball is leaky and will break under your weight, causing you a painful fall. Also, it is wise to carry sanitising wet wipes with you and clean the ball before you sit on it. Chances are the person who used it before you did not clean it.
- Weights Machines
Weights machines, especially the Smith machine (the one you use for weighted squats) are very dangerous. They are basically heavy weights attached by steel cords, with no other obstacle to stop them from crushing you if the cord breaks. Many terrible injuries (resulting in paralysis) happened because of malfunctioning Smith machines, so you should avoid it and focus on other exercises and gym equipment.
- Cardio Equipment
Cardio equipment such as the treadmill or the elliptic bike can pose the hazard of pinching your shoes, clothing or hair if they have any loose parts. Electrical equipment also pose the added (and more serious) risk of electrocution, if the insulating covers are worn out and live electric wires are exposed for you to touch them by mistake.
Before you use any of these machines, take a good look at their condition, inspect the handles and the moving parts and make sure that everything looks in order and properly maintained. If you have any doubt or suspicion about the proper working condition of cardio equipment, do not use it and notify the gym staff to take a look at it.
- Unqualified Staff
As always, the human factor is always one of the hazards you may encounter even in the gym. A trainer who does not understand your fitness needs and/or health issues and recommends you inadequate exercises could cause you to suffer an injury, such as a strained back, IT band syndrome, rotator cuff injury, etc. On the other hand, poorly qualified maintenance staff may not keep all the equipment in adequate working condition and these may malfunction when you are using them.
Therefore, if you are just starting to look for a gym to exercise in during the autumn and winter, make sure that you check its references and testimonials from other clients regarding all the aspects, from the staff to the degree of cleanliness at the premises.