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What is the first thing I should do when I get to the gym?

One of the first things to do upon arriving at the gym is to begin your warm-up process. First, start by releasing any unwanted tension in the muscles through a self-massage technique called foam rolling. A facility's foam rollers are usually kept with the floor mats and other flexibility equipment. Next, perform some stretches on muscles that feel tense or tight. Hold each stretch for about 30 seconds to allow the muscle time to relax and elongate. If you are not sure as to how to stretch, ask a fitness professional at the gym to show you the proper technique. Finally, increase your body's core temperature through some form of aerobic/cardio activity that you perform for 5-10 minutes. It is important not to skip this step since cold muscles and tendons are more susceptible to injury. Also, aerobic activity will help increase oxygen and blood flow to the exercising muscles. Once your body is warmed-up, you are ready to begin the main portion of your workout.

When you first get to the gym, try to focus on a plan of action for the time you have allotted. All to often, people get to the gym and get disctracted. Whether it be unfamiliar equipment, social stops, or the same old routine, if you have a plan when you first get there, you will much more likely to accomplish what you intended. Make sure your plan starts with a warm up and ends with a cool down. In the interset of time, these important steps often get skipped.

The first thing you should do when you get to the gym is to get a tour of the facility and gain an understanding of what the facility offers in terms of equipment and classes. This will help you to find your way around and to know what you will be doing while you are there. This may even give you helpful suggestions of things to try that you hadn't thought of. Psychologically this will help you feel more comfortable and will give you information around how to build your workout plan and schedule. 


Another helpful tip when first getting to the gym is to see who can help you set up a plan and figure out how to work the equipment. These things can cause confusion and get in the way of continued exercise. 

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.