Tune Up your Equipment for Safe Exercising

We take technology for granted a little too often and sometimes it can lead to injury. The proper use of exercise equipment and training aids is as much a part of your exercise routine as is the warm-up and cool down.

Spring is the perfect time to review your exercise equipment. Just as we change our winter tires and tune the car up for spring and summer, we should do the same with our exercise equipment.

Whether it's running, cycling, walking, rollerblading, etc., the proper functioning of your equipment can play a big part in your exercise enjoyment. Many injuries can be associated with the improper use, fitting, tuning and functioning of the equipment.

Shoulder tendinopathy and lateral epicondylitis (tennis elbow) can be caused by the improper fitting, sizing and tension in the tennis racquet. Seek the advice of a professional when purchasing a racquet. Your ability and technique will be reviewed to determine the proper size and tension in the racquet. Golf clubs are also something that requires the advice of a professional. Proper grip, shaft type and head technology can help reduce the stress of impact on the ball from translating through to your elbow’s (Golfer’s elbow).  

Biking is a great way to exercise and stay healthy. Many types of bicycles exist now and choosing the right bike depends on your needs. Intense road cycling requires a special type of bike, as does mountain or trail riding. If you plan to use your bicycle for exercise then a proper fitting and tuning is necessary to prevent injuries. Knee, hip, back and neck strains can all be related to improper bike tuning and fitting. Brake pads and cables should be checked regularly. Replace your helmet if it shows signs of any cracks or chipping.

Running and walking have become very popular and the choice of running shoes is vast. Choosing the proper shoe for your running gait, style, intensity and terrain is essential for avoiding lower leg and foot pain. From blisters to chronic Achilles tendinopathy, proper footwear will go a long way to your running enjoyment. Abnormal wear and tear, especially on the sole, can indicate changes in running gait and potential problems. Look at replacing your shoes when you approach the 500 km mark. Walking shoes will not wear out like running shoes but should still be inspected for abnormal wear and tear on a regular basis.

Other exercise equipment should be inspected every couple of months. Roller blade wheels should be rotated to ensure regular and even wear and replaced often if used for intense training. Remember to check the brake pad at the back for wear. Your home exercise equipment should be inspected every couple of months. The tension cables, benches and connection screws on your universal weight stations, work benches and bars, the air seal on the exercise balls, the exercise bands and steps should all be checked regularly to avoid potential injury risks.

So next time you take your car to the garage for a tune-up, while it’s there, why don't you take the time to check your exercise equipment for abnormal usage and wear and tear?