Whether you’re trying to keep fit before the holiday season or just haven’t hit the gym for a while, exercising at home can still put you at risk for injuries. But if you’re willing to take a few precautions, you can cut down on the number of workout injuries – and the time spent recovering from them.

3 Common Home Workout Injuries & How to Prevent Them

Exercise injuries happen when you do too much, too quickly, or with the wrong technique. Whether you’re new to fitness or a seasoned veteran, the key is to listen to your body and stop when it hurts.

If you’re just getting started, start out light and gradually increase the intensity if necessary. That way, you’ll avoid muscle strains or overuse injuries, says K. Aleisha Fetters, a certified strength and conditioning specialist and author of “Fitness Hacks for Over 50.”

When you’re working out with weights, it’s especially important to use proper form. That means keeping your elbows and forearms straight, making sure your shoulders are level, and ensuring your back is neutral.

It’s also a good idea to vary your exercises from one day to the next so you don’t use the same muscles on different days. This can help keep your muscles and joints healthy, according to Mimi Secor, DNP, a nurse practitioner in Onset, Mass.

Joint dislocation is another type of workout injury that’s easy to cause, especially when you’re just starting out and aren’t used to exercising. A dislocated joint can cause severe pain, swelling and stiffness in the injured joint, as well as damage to the surrounding ligaments, tendons, blood vessels and nerves, says Mimi Secor.

For this reason, you should always consult a medical professional before working out or doing any activity that could dislocate your joint. If you’re not sure what to do, seek advice from a physical therapist, a doctor of chiropractic or a personal trainer, she says.

Then, you’ll know what to expect and be able to take care of the injury yourself if it occurs. Once the injury has healed, you’ll need to get a physical therapy appointment and go through the rehabilitation process so the injury doesn’t come back, Cheatham said.

Injuries can be debilitating, but they don’t have to keep you from working out if you follow these tips:

Identify Your Trouble Spots

If you’re new to fitness or haven’t worked out in a while, it’s a good idea to focus on problem areas and try to avoid activities that may stress those areas, advises Morgan Nolte, a doctor of physical therapy and specialist in geriatric physical therapy. For example, if you have knee arthritis, it’s best to avoid exercises that can make your condition worse, such as jumping or running on a treadmill.

Check Your Equipment

Some fitness equipment, like a bike or treadmill, can have dangerous cords or bungee cords that can pull your leg out of the pedal when you’re trying to move it. For that reason, you should make sure your machine is secured at all times when it’s not in use.

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