It’s still close to the start of a new year, meaning, a lot of you have begun to exercise for the first time, often, as part of your New Year’s resolution. And this is great, there are so many benefits to exercising, including increased strength, muscle tone, energy, balance and confidence; as well as a reduction in fat and stress.

With all of these benefits, comes one negative, the risk of injury if you don’t exercise correctly. Exercise safety is key. As I’ve said before, pain during and after a workout isn’t often a good thing. I have had many clients come to me with pre-existing injuries they want to work through. Here is the approach I take with them and that I recommend you take when working out.

4 Exercise Safety Tips

Start off Slowly.

Sure you may have been able to bench 150 pounds in a chest press 20 years ago. If you haven’t been to the gym since your University days though, history doesn’t matter. During your first few sessions back at the gym, start off by lifting the lightest weights available and build up from there. For exercise safety, towards the beginning, it’s better to lift lighter weights and perform more reps of the exercise.

Pay attention and Listen to Your Body

Put all of your focus into your fitness work. This means, don’t bring your phone to the gym floor. Yes, I actually said it – you have to separate yourself from your precious phone! To stay safe know what muscles you should be working and feeling in each exercise and make sure that is where you are feeling the work. As an example, you should feel your abs working the most in a plank, not your low back. I tell my clients to drop out of this move as soon as they feeling anything in their low back.

Variety is Key

Work different muscles and the same muscles differently, by performing a variety of exercises. Changing up your workout is needed for exercise safety, as it gives certain parts of your body a rest and develops your muscles in a more balanced manner. It’s also required for you to continue progressing in your sessions. I switch up my clients’ routines every three to four weeks to keep things interesting, motivating and effective.

It’s Better to be Safe Than Sorry

If an exercise isn’t feeling right (ie. your knees really hurt while performing squats), chances are, your form isn’t correct or you are lifting too much weight during the move. Remove these exercises from you routine until you’ve run your form by a fitness professional, or until you’ve done your own research to see what the exercise should look like. Be careful though, I see a ton of YouTube videos of people performing an exercise incorrectly. Try checking out a trusted source for exercise safety, like my Build a Fit Physique YouTube fitness channel or TRX’s facebook site.

To Sum it Up…on Exercise Safety

There are so many benefits to working out. To minimize your risk of injury due to exercise, pay attention to these exercise safety tips. Start off slowly, always pay attention to what you’re doing while exercising, add variety into your workouts and if something doesn’t feel right, don’t do it! I hope these tips help you guys stay safe during your workouts!