width=126Data from the Consumer Products Safety Commission reveals the gym can pose some hazards, with more than 50,000 exercisers landing in the ER annually.

Here are some of the most common culprits, and how you can avoid getting injured.

It turns out the treadmill is the most common source of injuries. Falls account for many injuries, not only off treadmills, but stability balls and other balance equipment. Tripping over skipping ropes alone accounted for 169 ER visits.

Oh, and treadmills can be hazardous even if they're not actually on. People trip over them, stub their toes and injure themselves trying to move them (memo to those who want to move a treadmill--they are heavy.)

Some of the other causes of gym injuries:

  • Dropping weights on your toes.
  • Tripping over equipment on the floor (dumbbells, benches, bands, BOSU's, people's gym bags that-shouldn't-be-in-the-gym-area-in-the-first-place.
  • Weight stacks (watch your fingers when you pull the pin out).
  • Chrome dumbbell slivers.

Note:  This is aside from the numerous exertion, or mechanical injuries that occur everyday in gyms across the world.

One explanation for the increase in incidences may be the use of electronic devices--texting and running don't mix!

How to prevent gym-related injuries

width=104As with many things in life, common sense and common courtesy are central themes here. Be aware of your surroundings and be cognizant of potential hazards. And, don't leave your dumbbells all over the place! Your mother doesn't work at your gym (and even if she does, she shouldn't have to pick up after you).

If you're on the treadmill, do yourself a few favors:

  • Be sure it's off. This may seem like a no-brainer, but I witnessed someone stepping on to a moving belt they thought wasn't moving.
  • Don't be the dumbass texting or talking on your phone.
  • Keep cords and towels in safe places.
  • Be sure your water bottle is secure.
  • Know your limit, run within it.

With free weights

  • Be careful pulling the plates off the weight trees. I've come close to breaking toes/metatarsals by not looking while removing them.
  • Say no to chrome dumbbells. I don't know why gyms use them, but they can sliver.
  • Watch your fingers when racking the dumbbells!

Other safety tips

  • Watch for loose or frayed cables
  • With doubled pulley cables, when pulling a pin out, be sure there is no overhead attachment.

Have you ever been injured in the gym? Have you witnessed any incidences or injuries?