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Revealing the most common gym-related injuries

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With sport and physical activity being such a huge part of so many Brits’ lives, it’s important to raise awareness of how to exercise safely. We’ve surveyed 1,000 gym users, to reveal the most common exercise-related injuries and which pieces of gym equipment pose the most danger. As well as this, we’ve also teamed up with Senior Private Physiotherapist Ann Kuan, to provide top tips to keep safe during your next workout.

As far as gym injuries go, there’s no body part that’s more susceptible to discomfort than your knees. With a whopping 17.3% of post-gym pain attributed to knee injuries, it’s always worth taking the time to perfect your form and make sure you’re not overextending yourself!

The next most frequently injured area of the body are the shoulders (11.5%). The reasons for this are varied, and depend heavily on the type of exercise and activity you’re performing. However, the likelihood is that pain has arisen through strains (40.0%) and sprains (39.3%), which are the two most common types of injury, followed by internal damage (9.6%), contusions (8.1%), and dislocations (8.1%).

Ankle injuries (9.3%) are the third most commonly experienced injury by gym-goers, followed by lower torso pain (6.3%). Meanwhile, a body part likely involved in many stages of your gym routine, it’s the wrists (6.0%) that are the fifth most damaged body part suffered by regular exercisers.

Which gym machines are the most dangerous?

Taking the top spots as the two pieces of gym equipment that pose the most danger, with around a quarter of all injuries attributed to each of these types of workout, we have the weight rack (25.4%) and treadmill (25.0%). Both are likely as a result of individuals pushing themselves before they’re ready to progress, highlighting the importance of steady improvement.

Next up, it’s the bikes, which contribute to 17.1% of all gym-related injuries, from strains and sprains to overexertion, while the cross trainer (15.3%) and pull-up bar (15.2%) complete the top five most dangerous pieces of exercise equipment.

A graphic showing the most common machines that cause injuries at the gym.

Five top tips to avoid injury at the gym

Many Brits have recently incorporated exercise into their regular routines. And while this is beneficial for mental and physical health, it’s important to take the appropriate steps when trying out something new. Senior Private Physiotherapist at Vita Health Group Ann Kuan gives her top tips to avoid injury at the gym.

1. Commit to a warm up

Before starting any type of exercise, it’s important to warm up with dynamic stretches. These are active movements that puts your body through a range of motions, and accomplishes flexibility of the muscle groups you’ll be using. Benefits include far fewer injuries, as well as achieving greater power and a more efficient workout.

2. Progress at a steady pace

If you’re trying to increase the amount of exercise you do, whether to lose weight or build muscle, be sure to only raise the frequency and intensity at a steady pace that your body can handle. The key here is to gradually improve your volume over time, and don’t be afraid to drop back down a little if you’re suffering niggles. Pushing your body too hard and too quickly can be harmful, and cause long-term injury.

3. Rank your pain level and modify

If you experience discomfort while exercising, take a moment to ask yourself how bad it is; can you still perform normal activities or is your everyday life being affected? It’s important to seek medical assistance immediately if your injury is impacting your daily routines, but, if pain is mild, consider trying a lower intensity workout for a while. Additionally, consider also using ice, heat, or relief balms to get the pain under control.

4. Avoid sitting for hours on end

No matter how fit and strong you are, back pain is common in even the most sedentary actions. For instance, working from the kitchen table, sofa, or even your bed are far from beneficial for your posture. Even sitting at a desk for long periods of time can have negative consequences. The best ways to avoid back pain are to take advice on ergonomic set-up solutions and get up for multiple breaks throughout the day.

5. Don’t forget self-care

Among the most important tips to avoid gym-related injuries is to practice self-care! If you’re suffering from a little discomfort, worry and stress can exacerbate the pain. If you’re unsure as to the extent of any damage, it may be beneficial to visit a professional to seek clarification. Otherwise, following self-care habits like mindfulness and meditation can help to reduce anxiety and even alleviate physical pain.

Regular exercise is a great way to improve your mental and physical health, but it’s important that you know how to keep safe. For even more helpful guidance and advice, check out the latest over on our blog.