Exercise Safety TipsLast updated: Jun 01, 2018
Exercise is one of the most important things you can do to maintain and improve your overall health and sense of well-being. For example, together with a healthy diet, exercise can help you achieve and maintain a healthy weight and lower your risk for many diseases/conditions, including joint problems, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, colon cancer, depression, and anxiety. But before starting a new or continuing your current exercise routine, it’s wise to observe some precautions to protect your health.
Even if you have been exercising, regular checkups with your doctor can help prevent unwanted health problems. If you are new or returning to exercise, it’s especially important to get a green light from your doctor before exercising to help protect your health. You, too, can have a vital role in protecting your health by following exercise safety recommendations to prevent injury and illness.
Exercise Safety Recommendations
- Choose exercises that are right for and please you
If you have been inactive, for example, start by walking instead of running/jogging for a gradual approach to getting back in shape. Choosing exercises that don’t over stress your muscles and joints is key to preventing injuring. If a kick boxing class does not appeal to you, take a dance or other exercise class instead. Enjoying your workout is key to maintaining exercise for the long term.
- Vary your exercise to work all parts of your body and avoid overuse injuries
Exercising all muscle groups will help ensure your muscles, tendons, and joints are strong overall and help prevent overuse injuries.
- Dress in clothing designed for your activity and the climate
Be sure your shoes fit well and that you have absorbent socks that prevent rubbing and blisters. Dress in moisture-wicking layers that you can remove as you warm up or add as you cool down.
- Check exercise equipment each time you exercise
If you exercise on a treadmill, stationary bicycle, elliptical machine or with exercise balls, free weights, or total body resistance (TRX) suspension bands, check before using them to ensure they are safe and working properly.
- Warm up before and cool down after each exercise session
Before an aerobic workout, walk slowly for 5 to 10 minutes, increasing your speed gradually to warm your muscles before intensifying your workout.
Stretch gently and slowly after exercising to prevent muscles from tightening
- Gradually increase the amount of time and intensity with which you exercise
If you are new or returning to weight training, start with light weights and increase their heaviness as you grow stronger. Begin with moderate intensity aerobic exercise and increase the intensity and duration of your workout as you become fit.
- Use good form and posture
Work out in front of a mirror or check with a personal fitness trainer to ensure you are using good form and maintaining a healthy posture when lifting weights. Good form and posture are key to preventing exercise-related injuries
- Be aware of sore muscles and joints
If you’re like most people, you might feel a bit sore or stiff the day of or after exercising; but you should see your doctor iif you experience chronic or severe pain from exercise. Your doctor can design a program to help strengthen and protect injured muscles, joints, and tendons.
- Drink water before, during, and after you exercise to prevent dehydration
- Exercise in an air-conditioned gym to avoid becoming overheated in hot, humid weather
If you exercise outside in the warm weather, exercise early or late in the day and slow your pace. Stop exercising and talk with your doctor if you become dizzy or faint, feel nauseous, or develop a headache, palpitations, or cramps.
- Exercise at home or in a gym when it’s icy outside
Slips and falls are common in the winter, but they can be avoided by exercising inside. If you insist on exercising outside in cold weather, be sure to dress in layered moisture-wicking attire for warmth and wear nonskid shoes.
- Avoid exercising in secluded areas
Exercise in well-lit, populated areas and exercise with a friend, group, or your dog. Wear bright, reflective clothing to ensure motorists see you.
- Use sunscreen year ‘round when exercising outside
- Rest if you are very tired or sick
Being tired or under the weather is your body’s way of suggesting it needs a break.
Talk with your doctor if you have diabetes, asthma, heart disease,
high blood pressure, joint problems, bone loss (osteoporosis, arthritis),
or any other diseases/conditions that may affect exercising.
Call Summit Medical Group today
to schedule an appointment with one of our health care experts.
They can help guide you to an exercise approach that is right for you.