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Categories > Exercise and Fitness > Exercising safely

Intimidated by the gym?

When you’re getting started with a new exercise plan, joining a gym has the potential to be both helpful and harmful. Sure, you’ll be surrounded by the latest fitness equipment and have access to knowledgeable staff members. But if you’re too self-conscious to break a sweat while surrounded by well-toned people or you avoid using the machines because you don’t know how they work, you won’t get much return for your investment. You could also get hurt if you use the machines incorrectly. Here’s how to increase your comfort level at the gym:

Try blending in. Scared you’ll embarrass yourself in a group exercise class? Take a spot in the back row, where no one will notice any slip-ups.

Work with a personal trainer. If you can afford a session, you’ll learn how to stretch and use all the equipment properly. Otherwise, if your gym offers a complimentary orientation, take advantage of the personalized tour, and ask questions about how to use the equipment.

Join with a friend. There’s safety in numbers, and you’ll enjoy meeting your pal regularly to chat and burn calories together.

Keep a journal. Jot down the exercises you tried and how you felt afterward. After a few weeks, you should feel more confident about your abilities. For inspiration, flip back through your old entries.