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Find out how to avoid injuries in the gym


New gym memberships spike in January, as many Aussies once again list getting fit among their new year’s resolutions. But while hitting the treadmill or taking some PT sessions is great for losing the extra Christmas pounds, it pays to be cautious. A Victorian study published in the Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport journal claimed that the number of fitness-related injuries being treated in hospital rose in recent years as the fitness lifestyle becomes more popular. The researchers believed the increased participation in resistance training and the growing variety of available equipment was behind the rise. Fortunately, there are ways to reduce the risk so that you can safely get on with getting fit.

Common Injuries

There are three types of exercise-related injuries – overuse, acute and chronic. Common areas of injury include the knees, feet, ankles, lower back and shoulder and neck. According to the Herald Sun, dislocations and sprains are common and males aged 15-24 are the most likely demographic to be seriously hurt.

Avoiding Injuries

Common causes of injuries include poor technique, inadequate recovery time and lifting weights that are too heavy. Some pointers for avoiding workout-related injury include:
  • Know your body. Make sure your trainer is aware of any prior injuries and surgeries.
  • Learn how to use new equipment properly and observe proper form while lifting. Incorrect technique can result in both short and long term injuries.
  • Warm up adequately before resistance training.
  • Make sure that the pin securing a stack of weights in a resistance machine is properly inserted.
  • Take care when exercising alone. If you are injured, there may be no-one around to help you.
  • If you’re over 40, consult your doctor before you begin an aerobics program.

What to Look For in a Gym

Things to keep in mind when you’re scouting for a good gym include the qualifications and experience of the staff, how well-maintained the equipment is (and the variety), how clean the place is, what kind of classes they offer and the number of members they have.

Client’s Story

In 2008, a Shine Lawyers client sustained injury to her left knee requiring ACL repair which was performed in the UK. After arriving in Australia on a student Visa, she joined her local gym in 2013 and had a free session with a personal trainer. The trainer was aware of our client’s prior injury. Yet he used strenuous exercise techniques that she did not have the capacity to perform, resulting in the need for further surgery. Once the settlement was complete, the client was happy with the result and ready to move on with her life.

Written by Shine Lawyers. Last modified: September 6, 2018.

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