Working out at home has never been so popular. The combination of gym closures during lockdown, the government’s stay-at-home guidance and more affordable home equipment has led to a boom in the home gym industry.
It can be tempting to just find some weights or equipment and get going – but don’t forget that when you go to the gym you are benefiting from safety best practice, first aid trained personnel and trainers who can show you if you are doing something that might cause you an injury. Here’s our guide to working out from home safely.
If you are not lucky enough to have a room or garage you can convert into your own personal gym, you’ll need to adapt another room to serve part-time. Whenever you go to work out, ensure you have sufficient space – not only for you to comfortably carry out your exercises, but also to protect your other furniture, ornaments and other belongings.
Protect your floor
If you’ve ever been to a ‘proper’ gym, you’ll more than likely have noticed the flooring. Professional gyms are covered in cushioned matting – it serves two main purposes. Firstly, when people drop weights or use machines the matting protects the floor underneath (rowing machines, exercise bikes and cross-trainers, for example, will make micro-movements as they are being used). Secondly, the cushioning prevents anything that was dropped from bouncing up and striking someone – if you drop a dumbbell on the floor through exhaustion or accident, the last thing you want is for it to bounce up and smash your shin/land on your toe.
You can recreate this safety feature in your home gym even on a tight budget – cushioned/rubber matting can be bought off the roll in pre-cut sizes, or even as tiles for your convenience. If your room is multi-purpose, make sure your matting can be rolled up or removed easily and quickly.
Check yourself out
Mirrors aren’t installed in gyms just to boost users’ egos – they serve an important purpose. You can check your form, posture and technique by watching yourself work out, and this is particularly important at home where you are more than likely exercising alone. Poor form is one of the most common ways that people injure themselves when working out – strains, sprains and even fractures occur quickly and often without warning, so try and perform your exercises in front of a full-length mirror where possible.
Another cornerstone of a professionally equipped gym is the water cooler. Staying hydrated is absolutely essential – not just for your health and wellbeing, but also for your performance. If your home gym is in the garage, a converted attic or other room away from your taps, then make sure you take a glass or bottle of water (or two) with you when you go to work out – you won’t want to have to go and fetch it when you’ve just completed your exercises.
Dress for success
When you go out to the gym or work out outdoors, you probably wear the appropriate footwear and clothing. You should do this even when you’re working out at home – exercise footwear can offer cushioning and support for your feet and ankles, and specially designed workout wear can keep you cool and comfortable by wicking sweat away from your body.
Lastly, form fitting clothing is unlikely to get tangled in equipment.
Author Bio: First Mats started life as safety matting specialists, but have since expanded to become a complete industrial and commercial supplies company. The focus of First Mats is to provide safety-focused products that improve the wellbeing of staff through quality approved products, backed up by extensive knowledge. www.firstmats.co.uk