Baltimore— It’s a new year and you have a new gym membership. But before you start lifting weights and running miles on the treadmill, make sure you’re ready.
Experts say trying to get in shape and shed pounds can lead to unwanted injuries, especially for those who are new to working out.
“A good first step is to take the time to learn how to properly use exercise machines and other equipment that your gym has to offer, “says William Kang, MD, orthopedic surgeon with Saint Agnes Medical Group.
According to Consumer Products Safety Commission data analyzed by USA Today, more 450,000 people made trips to hospital emergency departments in 2012 for injuries related to exercise equipment. These include back, hip, leg and ankle injuries from lifting too much weight, falling off treadmills and exercise balls and overdoing it on the treadmill or elliptical machine.
Dr. Kang says these simple tips can help make your workout safe.
•When you’re lifting weights, focus on form and the amount of weight you’re lifting. Too much weight and too many repetitions are a recipe for injuries.
•Whether you are using an elliptical machine or a treadmill, it’s important to take it slow. Limit your speed and the amount of time you spend on the machine, especially if you are just starting an exercise program.
•It is important to be consistent. Fifteen minutes a day is much more safe and effective than one heavy two-hour workout.
Dr. Kang says if you know your limitations and start slow, you can have an effective workout and avoid injuries.