Exercise Safety Tips to Remember in the New Year


Jan 5, 2024


It’s common to pick up a new fitness routine around the new year after a restful and lazy holiday season. In fact, exercising more and losing weight are often among the top New Year’s resolutions in the United States! While it’s great to get back into a regular exercise routine to improve your health habits, you must ease back into it safely to avoid any strains, sprains, pulled muscles, or other injuries. 

Before you dust off those running shoes, fill up that water bottle, and renew that gym membership, review these exercise safety tips that can help you prevent any injuries from occurring:

  1. Do a proper warm-up routine before any workout
  2. Take your time
  3. Familiarize yourself with any equipment before use
  4. Drink plenty of water before, during, and after workouts
  5. Do a proper cool-down after your workout 
  6. Get plenty of sleep

At the core, these exercise safety tips all revolve around preventing injury and keeping you safe. 

The importance of safety precautions before exercise

The reason that we have exercise safety tips in the first place is that some people tend to rush into a new exercise routine without knowing the risks. After a long period of inconsistent workouts, your body needs time to readjust to the level of activity and movement. Picking up a pair of heavy weights or going for a five-mile run after a long hiatus can put you at risk of hurting yourself with strained or pulled muscles, falls, collisions, or dehydration. Understanding your body’s limits and capabilities is fundamental in preventing injuries during workouts.

Whether you’re looking for exercise safety tips at home or tips for safety at the gym, if you intend on prioritizing your fitness in the new year, read these exercise safety tips carefully before diving into your next workout.

Tip #1: Do a proper warm-up routine before any workout

One of the biggest mistakes you can make is going into a workout without warming up first. Many people tend to skip their warmup and rush into the “meat and potatoes” of the workout, but what they don’t understand is that going into a workout cold can increase the likelihood of muscle damage. It’s essential to warm up adequately before exercising to prepare your body for physical activity and decrease the risk of injuries. 

How do you carry out exercise safely? With properly warmed-up muscles before the start of your workout! Simple stretches or a brief, low-impact cardio session increases blood flow to your muscles, ligaments, and joints, making them more flexible and less prone to strains or sprains.

Tip #2: Take your time

How do you maintain safety in exercise? By taking your time. There’s a misconception that “going hard” or doing high-intensity, grueling, even painful workouts are often the only way to see the results that you want. This cannot be further from the truth. After we’ve taken a break from exercise, we tend to overexert ourselves to make up for lost time, putting ourselves at risk of sustaining injuries that can take us out of the workout game for longer. 

Imagine nursing a slip and fall injury after falling off a treadmill because you decided to crank the speed up right away. Sustaining any workout injury can further delay and discourage you from jumpstarting your fitness journey! 

The key to maintaining your new-year exercise routine is to start at a manageable pace and increase the frequency, intensity, and duration of your workouts as you get stronger. This allows your body to withstand and maintain your results while recovering promptly. Forcing your body past its limits will increase the risk of injury, slow your recovery time, and delay the gains you truly want in the new year.

Tip #3: Familiarize yourself with any equipment before use

Tips for safety at the gym include familiarizing yourself with the facility and gym equipment and how to properly use it before starting a set. Many injuries at the gym come from improperly using gym equipment or injuries sustained from overexerting yourself. Always follow instructions and utilize any safety features such as safety clips on weights or emergency stop buttons on machines.

Because gym equipment can often be bulky and heavy, you run the risk of dropping weights or other objects on yourself if you’re not careful. This can result in broken bones, muscle sprains and strains, tears,* or even more severe injuries like concussions (Keep reading: when to go to ER for concussion symptoms). 

If you need help or require someone to spot you, ask a gym associate for assistance or go to the gym with a friend to ensure that you are working out safely at all times.

On a cleaner note, be sure to wipe down equipment before and after your set to prevent the spread of germs and keep the equipment clean. After all, you don’t want to sit in someone else’s sweat, and they don’t want to sit in yours. 

*Keep reading: How to tell the difference between ACL vs MCL tears

Tip #4: Drink plenty of water before, during, and after workouts

Sweating is our body’s natural way of cooling our bodies down as we exercise to prevent overheating, but we tend to lose a lot of fluids during this process. Properly hydrating throughout your workout will ensure that your body can maintain and replace the fluids you lose while sweating. Hydration allows our muscles to maintain our performance levels by reducing the risk of heat stress or passing out after using all that energy. 

When should you go to the ER for dehydration? Head to the emergency room if you exhibit any of the following dehydration symptoms: 

  • Excessive vomiting
  • A fever of 103°F or higher
  • Cessation of tear, urine, and sweat production
  • Loss of consciousness 
  • Red, dry, and hot skin

Tip #5: Do a proper cool-down after your workout 

After finishing your workout, end the routine with a relaxing cool-down. How important is a cool down after exercise? Very important. Just as a warm-up promotes blood flow and circulation before a workout, a cool-down helps your blood pressure recover and can prevent super sore muscles and body aches. A cool-down should consist of stretches to relieve muscle tightness, as well as deep breathing to slow down your heart rate. Once you’re done, rehydrate, eat a healthy snack, and be sure to get plenty of sleep that night!

Tip #6: Get plenty of sleep

You may be thinking, what does sleep have to do with exercise? Contrary to popular belief, everything. Sleep is the main process that allows our body tissue to recover properly as the muscles develop and grow. If you skimp out on getting a full 7-9 hours of quality sleep, you will not have the energy necessary to get through a good workout the next day and you can feel sore and stiff for longer due to lack of recovery. It doesn’t matter how hard you go in the gym — without sleep, you won’t reap the benefits of your workout and will see a delay in your progress.  

Injured while exercising? Complete Care is here to help!

If you’re gearing up to begin a new workout regime or are prioritizing fitness in the new year, please take these exercise safety tips seriously. Common workout injuries that we see in the emergency room always stem from not taking the time to begin and recover properly. Our muscles need help and maintenance to perform and grow so that we can see the results we’ve worked so hard for. 

If you are ever in need of medical care after an exercise injury or accident, Complete Care’s freestanding emergency rooms are fully equipped to care for any injuries. Whether your child is dealing with injuries from gymnastics or you sustained an injury at the gym, Complete Care has everything you need to make a speedy and safe recovery.

We have multiple locations in Texas (Austin, Corpus Christi, Dallas/Fort Worth, East Texas, Lubbock, and San Antonio) and in Colorado Springs that are open 24/7 with shorter wait times. We hope that you have a safe and happy new year!

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