Guidelines For Safe Exercise

Author: Shannon Miller Lifestyle

Physical activity is an imporant part of our personal well-being.

However, when people start to exercise, they often push their bodies too far. The more exercise that is done, the higher the risk of overuse and traumatic injuries. Moderation is the key to safe exercise. Care should be taken not to try to do too much too soon. Safe exercise programs should always start slowly and gradually build up speed, force, and intensity.

The American Academey of Orthopedic Surgeons offers these tips for safer exercise.

  • Use Proper Equipment: Replace your athletic shoes as they wear out. Wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothes that let you move freely and are light enough to release body heat. When exercising in cold weather, dress in removable layers.
  • Warm Up: Warm up to prepare to exercise, even before stretching. Run in place for a few minutes, breathe slowly and deeply, or gently rehearse the motions of the exercise to follow. Warming up increases your heart and blood flow rates and loosens up other muscles, tendons, ligaments, and joints.
  • Stretch: Begin stretches slowly and carefully until reaching a point of muscle tension. Hold each stretch for 10 to 20 seconds, then slowly and carefully release it. Inhale before each stretch and exhale as you release. Do each stretch only once. Never stretch to the point of pain, always maintain control, and never bounce on a muscle that is fully stretched.
  • Take Your Time: Move through the full range of motion with each repetition. Breathe regularly to help lower your blood pressure and increase blood supply to the brain.
  • Drink Water: Drink enough water to prevent dehydration, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke. Drink 1 pint of water 15 minutes before you start exercising and another pint after you cool down. Have a drink of water every 20 minutes or so while you exercise.
  • Cool Down: Make cooling down the final phase of your exercise routine. It should take twice as long as your warm up. Slow your motions and lessen the intensity of your movements for at least 10 minutes before you stop completely. This phase of a safe exercise program should conclude your skin is dry and you have cooled down.
  • Rest: Schedule regular days off from exercise and rest when tired. Fatigue, soreness, and pain are good reasons to not exercise.

Plan beforehand!

Whether it is your New Year’s resolution to lose weight or you want to run a marathon, it is wise to make a plan before you begin so that you can see tangible results on your journey to reach your goals, while keeping it paced in a way you aren’t going to over exert yourself and possibly injure yourself. Some helpful tips to reach your goals may be:

  • Begin with the End in Mind: What is your big goal?
  • Make a Fitness Goals Calendar: Make short term goals that will help you reach your long term goal and write them down! This will keep you accountable to yourself.
  • Find an Accountability Partner: Whether it is your spouse, a good friend, or maybe a friend who is trying to reach a similar goal, if you have someone to keep you accountable you are more likely to stick with it and reach those goals!

For more information ons safe exercise see the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons patient information website

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