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First Aid in Your Gym

First Aid in Your Gym

Accidents happen, and your home gym is not immune to a sudden medical emergency. I love working out in my home gym because of the privacy, no wait times, cleanliness, and convenience. However, I am also aware of the potential dangers of exercising alone. Because of this knowledge, I take extra care to create a safe workout environment and workout experience. 

The list of potential harms is long, from strains and sprains to a much more severe health crisis. However, with some thought and planning, it’s easy to avoid most injuries and be prepared for an accident. 

First, ensure that your home gym is organized.

At the end of a particularly grueling workout, I am sometimes guilty of leaving my kettlebells wherever they have been dropped. A messy gym is a sure-fire way to have a ‘trip and fall’ accident. Follow the old adage “a place for everything and everything in its place.” 

  • Heavy items such as kettlebells, dumbbells, and medicine balls should be secured and placed away from your busiest workout area.
  • Instead, keep a space for your actual exercises that are free from equipment.
  • This space should be large enough for you to move a few feet in all directions and be well padded to cushion your joints. 

When I am home alone and plan to work out, I send a quick text message advising a few loved ones that I am hitting the gym. A brief text allows me to have the confidence to push hard, knowing that someone will check in on me when I don’t follow up with a text when my workout is complete. As a chronic fainter, this check-in process gives me and others much-needed peace of mind.

A first aid kit in your home is a sound idea, and a well-stocked kit can address most minor home injuries.

  • For your gym first aid kit, be sure to include tensor bandages, slings, and instant ice packs; most workout-related injuries are strains and sprains.
  • For these common and painful injuries, it’s essential to ice, elevate, rest, and sometimes immobilize the affected area. 

If you experience sudden pain while working out, take some time to evaluate the pain before continuing on with your workout.

  • There is no sense in worsening the injury by ‘pushing through the pain.’ Instead, take a moment to gauge the injury’s severity.
  • When alone, you have to act as both patient and caregiver so try to remain as calm as possible when you are hurt.

Evaluate your signs and symptoms to determine if you need to stop exercising altogether.

  • Take a break before continuing, and decide whether you need to seek emergency medical treatment.
  • Before moving at all, assess how you are feeling and how serious the injury is.

Time is required to know what type of injury you are dealing with, so do a self-examination.

  • For example, is the area swelling or already bruising?
  • Can you move the associated joint without pain through its full range of motion?
  • If it is a lower limb injury, say to your foot or leg, are you able to stand and bear your own weight without pain?
  • Be honest with yourself about your pain to be fully aware of what you need to do next.

In rare cases, you may need to call emergency services without moving excessively. For example, you need help right away if you have difficulty breathing, bleeding, or experience a lowered level of consciousness. 

When working out alone, be proactive about preventing injuries.

  • Drink plenty of water so that you are well hydrated.
  • Avoid exercises that require a spotter.
  • Monitor your level of exertion; you should always be able to speak without pausing for breath.
  • Check your heart rate to ensure you are not overdoing your intensity.

Do a heart rate check by using the pulse monitor on your treadmill or smartwatch. Have a phone close by should you need to call for help. Familiarize yourself with your first aid kit, take a first aid course to learn how to treat injuries and recognize medical emergencies. Being proactive about your health and safety will allow you to enjoy your gym with confidence.

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