Resolved to Join a Gym?

Make the most of your resolution

Are you joining a gym? Whether you are starting, returning to, or continuing an exercise program, here are some suggestions for exercising consistently and safely.

Choose your gym strategically. If the gym is not with 10 to 15 minutes of your home or work, don’t sign up. Find a gym you pass on the way to work or home.

Is the gym clean? Is there a complete line of equipment available? You should be able to work a balance of muscle groups.

Does the equipment fit your height? Are you 5’4″ or shorter or 6’2″ or taller? Most gyms do not have equipment that adapts outside these ranges, particularly for smaller people.

Will qualified employees teach you to use the machines correctly? Good gyms give you an introduction to the equipment.

Do you have a particular problem with your head or back or neck? Are the gym’s employees qualified to understand the problem?

Do the exercisers at the gym look happy? If people look miserable because they are straining and struggling, gym members could be at greater risk of injury.

Tips for the gym

Go to exercise. Don’t go to read a book. Exercise promotes a sense of relaxation and muscle awareness. When you read, it throws off your body position and body awareness.

Let go on the treadmill. If you have to hang on, the speed is too fast. As soon as you hang on, you twist, which can lead to back injuries.

Do what is appropriate for you. Don’t try to compete with the person next to you.

Choose age–appropriate classes. Understand what your want to do for your body and make sure you’re with the right age group.

Go eay on the weights. After a certain point, upping the weight is not that beneficial. It’s more important to exercise a balance of muscle groups and to stretch before and after.

If you miss a week at the gym, don’t start where you left off. Back down a bit. Ask for help. Double check to be sure you are using machines correctly.

Away from the gym

Stretch every day. When you’re stretching you also build strength. Stretching promotes good body mechanics, which help you avoid injury. See my video for home exercises.

Do some physical work. Both an elliptical machine and your vacuum give you the benefits of cardiovascular exercise.

Walk or bike outdoors. Swim. Your own body is the best piece of exercise equipment.

When you can’t get to the gym, keep walking and stretching. If you make a big effort and then skip a few days, you lose the benefits of exercise. Try for consistent, everyday exercise.

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