Gym Fitness

Personal injury

Gym-goers to take care now gyms are open

With lockdown restrictions easing and gyms reopening, many gym-goers should make sure they stay safe when at the gym. Read more about our research and advice.

04 May 2021

According to a report by Statista in December 2020, there are roughly 6,700 thousand health and fitness clubs in the UK with approximately 9.7 million members. Of those, 3,419 are solely fitness clubs.

It’s often in January when we see a flood of new fitness fanatics hoping to start the New Year with the right intentions. However, with many of us unable to do much exercise over the past year due to lockdown restrictions, it’s possible that we’ll see a surge in gym-goers over the next few weeks now that restrictions are being lifted. This may also see an increase in gym accidents and gym accident claims.

Who is likely to get injured in a gym?

In 2019 Slater and Gordon carried out a study, speaking to 2,000 people looking at people’s fitness habits and discovered that people who were new to the gym were more likely to have an accident or mishap as a result of working out. In fact, the research showed that more than half of new gym-goers, 53%, were injuring themselves after joining the gym.

A total of 57% were injured within the first three months of joining a gym compared to just 7% who were injured between 10 months and a year of signing up.

What are the main causes of gym injuries?

Many of the participants who took part in the research admitted to injuring themselves through carelessness, either dropping weights on themselves, falling off treadmills, trapping their fingers in weights machines or tripping up. However, many of the injuries were sustained by training too vigorously, overexerting themselves or overestimating their own abilities with weights that are too heavy.

More than a quarter, 28%, of those who sought help were treated by an on-site first aider but one in five of the incidents ended up with a trip to A&E and 59% said they had needed to see a doctor.

A further 40 per cent said their injuries were in need of follow-up appointments with a physio or chiropractor after developing a long-term exercise related problem. But 38 per cent didn’t get any help or advice after getting hurt.

What are the most common injuries sustained at the gym?

The research showed that the most popular injuries sustained after sport are pulled muscles - 72% and muscle aches – 45%, but 7% admitted to suffering chest pain and 9% said they had suffered shortness of breath.

Almost two thirds of people said that they continued to work out despite getting injured but one in five left the gym after a mishap.

How important is it to know how to use gym equipment?

It’s extremely important that you know what you are doing at the gym and know how to train correctly and safely. There is a lot of specialist equipment and without the right know-how you could cause yourself some serious damage.

Despite more than three quarters, 77, of new gym-goers being shown how to use the equipment correctly when they joined the gym only half said they were confident in how to correctly use all the machinery available to them.

A total of 73 per cent said that they had the confidence to approach someone for help if they didn’t know what they were doing but more women than men admitted that they do not follow a set training regime but make it up as they go along.

What about regular gym-goers returning to the gym after lockdown?

Regular gym-goers should also take care upon their return to the gym. A recent article published by the BBC highlighted the excitement of those returning to the gym but warned regular gym-goers to be careful as with gym restrictions in place for such a long period, it’s likely that not everyone will be able to pick up where they left off in 2020 and should take it easy and be careful.

What are the best tips to avoid fitness injuries?

An article published by Aston University Birmingham provides top tips to prevent injury during training:

  • Make sure you warm up and cool down
  • Make sure you stretch
  • Ease into your workout
  • Vary your workout so you don’t overuse one set of muscles
  • Listen to your body and be aware of its limitations
  • Wear the right equipment
  • Rest

The NHS suggests sports injuries can also by be caused by a fall or heavy blow and using inappropriate equipment or poor techniques. Fitness centres must ensure that their facilities and programmes are safe for their members to prevent fitness accidents and where they've failed and injuries have occurred, you may be able to make a claim for a gym accident.

If you’ve had a gym accident that wasn’t your fault, contact one of our specialists for expert advice.

This information was correct at the time it was published.

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