Staying alert at the gym is one way to stay safe when working out. Other tips include asking a trainer for help when using a new piece of equipment and making sure you're wearing proper workout attire. For more tips to stay safe while exercising, contact the Fort Myer Fitness Center.

Going to the gym is supposed to be good for you.

After all, exercising helps to lower blood pressure, keeps your weight in check and gets you in shape for the summer.

But what happens when the gym attacks?

That's what happened to me a couple of weeks ago. I headed to my gym in Woodbridge after work, changed clothes and made my way to the floor. I spotted an open treadmill (which doesn't happen often, especially on a weekday after work) and made a beeline for it.

Intent on securing my objective while developing a case of tunnel vision, I jumped on the machine, not realizing that somebody had left it on. I got thrown off, and came down on my left arm.

Ouch.

Pain was the first clue that something was wrong.

My fellow gym goers helped me up. That's when I got my second clue that I'd done some damage.

Left arm, not moving so much. A trip to the doctor and I had a diagnosis: Fractured humerus bone.

So, exactly how can you prevent injuries at the gym? Well, number one would be by not stepping on a moving machine, right? Natalia Dalton, who mans the front desk at the fitness center on the Fort Myer portion of JBM-HH, said to stay safe at the gym, you should stay alert.

"Watch where you're walking," she said. "Also be careful in the weight area, because a lot of time customers will put down the weights on the floor."

Make sure there's adequate space when you're walking between machines, Dalton continued.

"Sometimes facilities have machines that are close together, and you can trip," she said.

And that new-to-you machine that you've never used before? Get a trainer or gym employee to show you how to properly use it.

"You don't want to use a machine if you don't know how to use it," Dalton stressed.

Be cautious while working on floor mats, which can slide or be unlevel.

"If you're at the gym and notice a spill, let somebody know," added Dalton.

Page last updated Fri March 15th, 2013 at 00:00