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Pushing It to the Limit: Fitness Class Injury Prevention Tips

hand holding dumbell in gym

It’s good to push your boundaries. But exercise pushed too far or done in the wrong way can lead to injury, and if you’re laid up, then all your good work is wasted. If you go to an exercise class, the trainer should be aware of injury risks and safe practice, but you have a responsibility to look out for yourself as well.

Some common injuries

For all vigorous exercise, it’s important to warm up and start your routine slowly, but particular types of exercise need specific precautions.

Sprains to the wrist are quite common with boxing work-outs. You should support your wrists and hands by binding them securely. Also, punch with your palm facing down and try to make contact squarely, using all four fingers of the fist. That way, the impact will be spread better between the wrist and the fist.

Your knees can come under strain when using a cycling machine. Make sure that the bike you are using is the right size and fitted correctly. Arrive at the gym early and ask for assistance with adjusting the exercise bike, at least the first time. It’s surprising how many people spend a lifetime cycling without ever using a bike that’s a proper fit for them. The wrong fit makes injury much more likely.

Resistance training is popular these days. But if it’s repeated, intensive training of this sort can cause RSI. Make sure that you vary the types of exercise you are doing, as well as the intensity.

Zumba can cause stress fractures in knee, ankle and foot joints. After jumping, always land with your legs bent to cushion the impact. You should wear the recommended footwear for Zumba, as for any other exercise.

Pilates is known to cause discomfort and pain in the neck area for some people. The problem can be caused by poor core strength, which is exactly what Pilates aims to correct. But it’s important to build up slowly to avoid injuring the neck muscles before the core muscles are strong enough to take the strain. Increase your the amount you do gradually and don’t jump to exercises that are too hard.

If, in spite of all precautions, you do suffer an injury while exercising, be aware of the immediate steps you can take to minimize trauma.

What to do if you are injured

The acronym, ‘RICE’, is a reminder of some steps that are often recommended for exercise injuries.

First of all, rest: stop doing whatever has caused the problem. Then, put ice on the injured area or just a cold water compress to calm the inflammation. The next step is to apply a compression bandage to reduce swelling. Last of all, elevate the injured part. Anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen can help with the pain in the short term and also assist in countering physical tension, which minimizes resulting posture problems.

If you are seriously concerned about an injury or if it persists for more than a week, seek medical advice. When you are able to exercise again, try a different routine for a while and rebuild your strength.

Could you get compensation?

If your injury hasn’t cleared up after four weeks or so, you may be looking at long-term consequences and could think about taking legal advice from a personal injury lawyer. It’s easy to find one locally by checking the internet. For example, you could search for a Dallas Personal Injury Lawyer. Make sure that they will see you for a free diagnostic interview to start with.

Not all medical expenses are covered by insurance, and you may have to consider a loss of earnings as well as damages for pain. The effects of RSI, for example, can be severe and lasting. However, successfully suing a gym owner or a trainer for damages following exercise injury is unlikely to be straightforward.

The gym will probably have a long list of special conditions for membership, including a clause which excludes legal liability in the event of injury. Exclusion clauses are generally worded very broadly to give the gym as much protection as possible. However, such small-print clauses cannot usually negate liability if the gym owner or trainer has been negligent. He or she has a duty of care to provide you with safe equipment and adequate instructions, whatever the contract says.

If the injury is simply an accident, with no evidence of fault or negligence, then the claim won’t be successful. But only a specialist lawyer can advise you properly on your prospects of success.

Regis and Shane Mullen are a father and son legal team and are the principals of the Mullen & Mullen law firm. Mullen & Mullen have been serving Dallas with top rate legal advice and representation for over 20 years. Regis Mullen has a unique perspective on cases having worked on both sides of personal injury claims. Prior to practicing law, Regis worked as a claims adjuster and litigation supervisor for major insurance companies.