Regular activity is good for all of us, and it’s important to stay safe while becoming more active. Here are some tips for doing so:
· Talk to a doctor. Talk to your doctor before engaging in exercise, especially if you haven’t been active recently. Also consult your doctor if you have any injuries or health conditions, or if you experience any troublesome symptoms during exercise such as chest pain, shortness of breath, or dizziness.
· Pay attention to your body. Start slowly and gradually increase your activity level. At times you may need to cut back or change your routine. Physical activity can be challenging, but shouldn’t be painful.
· Prevent soreness and injury. Take five to 10 minutes to warm up and cool down properly to prevent soreness and injury, and be aware that training too hard or too often can cause overuse injuries. Shoot for a mix of different kinds of activities that use different muscle groups, and make sure to rest between bouts of activity.
· Remember the weather. In cold weather, wear layers you can easily peel off. In hot weather, try exercising during cooler hours or in an air-conditioned gym. Watch for signs of overheating such as headache, dizziness, nausea, faintness, cramps, or palpitations. No matter the temperature, always drink lots of water!
· Use good form. Especially for strength training, good form is critical to success. Initially use no weight or very light weights when learning the exercises. And never sacrifice good form by hurrying to finish reps or sets, or struggling to lift heavier weights.
Finally, if you have persistent or intense muscle pain that starts during a workout or right afterward, or muscle soreness that persists more than one to two weeks, call your doctor for advice.