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Home Exercise Equipment Safety

Many of us are exercising at home independently or virtually with a health fitness professional and have purchased or received various types of exercise equipment. It’s a good idea to get into the habit of doing an equipment inspection on a very frequent basis. You want to look over the equipment and check for any signs of damage or wear. Frequency for inspecting fitness equipment varies greatly depending on both the type and make of the fitness equipment. Add Inspection and maintenance of your exercise equipment in your calendar.

Some of the most common hazards include:

  • Improperly tightened or misaligned treadmill belts,

  • Missing treadmill safety keys,

  • Damaged or missing exercise bike pedal straps,

  • Damaged cables on weight lifting machine

  • Torn are worn resistance bands,

  • Improperly inflated stability balls, and

  • Broken free weight racks.

Safe User Tips for Resistance Tubing

As with all natural rubber products, proper care should be given to assure the longevity and safety of your purchase. Prevent exposure to sharp points or edges.  Nicks, cuts, and abrasions, which are exacerbated as the tubing is stretched, is the primary cause of tubing failure.  These events occur most often from stepping on the tubing, exposure to sharp points or being pinched in equipment bags, or from the tubing rubbing against surfaces.  As a safeguard, users should routinely inspect the tubing for nicks, cuts, and abrasions before every use.  If any such issues are found, use of the tubing should be discontinued immediately.

Do not allow the resistance tubing to be over extended; stretching resistance tubing too far can lead to early fatigue and product failure.  Check the manufacturer’s guidelines. Some resistance tubing should never be stretched more than 12 feet from its anchor. 

Avoid extended exposure to weather extremes.  Both sun and temperature will shorten the lifespan of tubing.  It is best to store the tubing indoors out of the sunlight when it is not being used. 

As with all workout products, resistance tubing is not a toy and should be used with caution, as serious injury can occur when not used properly.  This product should only be used with instruction from a qualified coach, trainer, or medical specialist.

Safe user tips for Resistance Bands

Resistance bands can break down over time due to normal wear and tear from use. It is important to inspect resistance bands frequently to ensure they are in safe operating condition. Many of the injuries from resistance band exercises come from improper use. Please make sure to follow equipment safety.

  • Never release a resistance band while under tension. A release under tension can cause the band to snap back toward the user and result in significant injury.

  • Begin all exercises slowly to ensure band strength.

  • Avoid jerking the band.

  • Inspect bands and handles before every use.

  • Check for cuts, nicks, scratches, cracks, punctures, discoloration, or anything that looks like the band may be weakened in that area. If any flaws are discovered discard the band immediately and never attempt to repair a damaged band.

  • Do not place the resistance band handles over feet. They can easily slip off and strike the user.

  • Never stretch a resistance band over 2.5 times their length.

  • Do not exercise with resistance bands on uneven surfaces

  • Resistance bands are not toys and should never be used for any activity other then the specific exercises they were designed for.

Storage and Care of Resistance Bands

Resistance bands can be a great and inexpensive exercise tool, but as with any piece of fitness equipment, proper maintenance is a critical aspect to ensure safe and proper function.

  • Clean bands by wiping with a damp cloth.

  • Do not use soap or any cleaning products to clean bands as these can deteriorate the strength of the band.

  • Avoid storing bands near direct sunlight.

  • Keep stored bands away from heat sources.

  • Bands should not be stored outside or in cold environments.

  • The ends of the band where the handles are connected to the band are the weak areas and should be checked before every use for damage.

Safe user tips for Stability Ball

Stability balls are quickly becoming one of the most common and widely used pieces of fitness equipment in homes and fitness centers today. They are inexpensive and versatile. They can be used for stretching, strength training, balance improvement, and much more. They can also, after proper training, be effectively used by people of all ages and fitness levels.

The increase in use of stability balls has also resulted in an increase in injuries associated with their use. The majority of these injuries can be attributed to improper use. On occasion, stability balls have been known to pop resulting in serious injury to the user.

The five most common causes of stability ball bursts are:

  • Over-inflation

  • Excessive user weight

  • Weakened or worn areas (especially seams)

  • Punctures

  • Use beyond manufacturer’s recommended life

Stability Ball Safety Tips

Make sure before using a stability ball you have been properly trained before exercising with them. Improper use of stability balls can result in serious injuries. Consider the following recommendations:

  • Use stability balls on a mat to act as a cushion in case of a fall.

  • Use stability balls on clean smooth surfaces, free of debris, to reduce wear and the possibility of puncture.

  • Position the ball against a wall to prevent it from rolling out underneath you or to prevent you from falling backwards.

  • Place chairs or other sturdy supports on the sides of the stability balls to provide balance when exercising in a seated position.

  • Avoid quick, jerking movements such as bouncing which can greatly reduce your balance and lead to a fall.

Proper Maintenance of stability ball

Another important aspect in making sure you can safely and effectively use stability balls is to properly store, clean, inflate, and maintain them. One of the most common causes of stability ball bursts is poor maintenance. Proper maintenance can increase the life and effectiveness of most stability balls.

Inflation: Over time, stability balls will lose air and as a result will need to be re-inflated. Make sure to always follow the manufacturer’s suggested instruction for inflation and never attempt to over-inflate.

Storage: Do not store stability balls in overly cool or warm places as this will cause the air inside the ball to either expand or contract. Also, store stability balls in a safe area to protect them from unauthorized use and damage. Stability balls should also be stored away from other exercise equipment. Stability balls should be stored in closets or on racks to prevent them from rolling and injuring others.

Cleaning: Exercise with stability balls usually involves quite a bit of contact, which is why it is so important to routinely clean them. Make sure to only use mild soap and water since chemical cleaners can damage and potentially degrade the ball. Diseases, such as MRSA, can reside on improperly sanitized stability balls.

Mark & Catalog: It is important to mark all stability balls with their date purchased and their burst limits. Stability balls, depending on level of use, typically have a 12-month lifespan and should be replaced afterwards. Also, stability balls come with a range of burst limits ranging from 200 pounds to over 1,000 pounds. These limits should be marked so heavier people, or those lifting weights, know to use to heaviest balls available.

Safe user tips for Exercise machine safety

Fitness equipment inspection checklist enable you to write the information necessary for each type of fitness equipment along with what specific components to inspect.

Be on the lookout for chips, cracks and splits (in the case of cables and wires, watch for tears or fraying). Check to see that any safety clamps, clips or other features are all in place and working correctly.

You also want to make sure your equipment and any plugs, wires or accessories are positioned in a way that doesn’t present a tripping hazard. For motorized equipment, make sure that all belts are running smoothly without disruption or wear, and that the motor isn’t making any unusual noises.

A big part of fitness equipment safety is using the items properly. Resist the temptation to skip over the instruction manual, as it often contains important safety information and warnings. If you buy your equipment at a store, ask the staff member to show you how to use the equipment correctly.

One element of a fitness equipment safety regimen that might surprise you is cleaning. Sweat and dirt can damage or degrade various parts of the equipment, so it’s important to be diligent about cleaning the equipment after each use. As a bonus, while you are cleaning, this gives you a good opportunity to inspect the equipment and spot issues or developing problems before they get worse.

Should you spot any red flags or signs of disrepair, don’t take a chance. Have the equipment checked out by a qualified service technician before using it again.

Your personal trainer or therapist can assist you with exercise equipment selection. and replacement.

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