Most people can safely take light to moderate exercise, although it’s wise to speak to your doctor before you take on a more strenuous routine. If you have any questions about your health, especially if you haven’t been active recently, it’s wise to consult your doctor, as well as using these tips to stay safe while you exercise.
If you have any injuries or health conditions, you should speak to your doctor, Chiropractor, or other medical professionals in charge of your care before you start an exercise routine. You should also do this if you’re having trouble with symptoms like dizziness, shortness of breath, or chest pain.
Tips to Exercise Safely
Once you have been given the go-ahead, use these tips to avoid injuries and exercise safely.
- Take five to ten minutes to properly warm up and cool down.
- Start slowly and increase your activity level gradually unless you already exercise on a regular basis.
- Keep in mind that training too hard or too often can cause overuse injuries like stress fractures, stiff joints, sore muscles, and inflamed ligaments and tendons. Sports that put repetitive wear on the same parts of the body, such as jogging which puts wear on your knees, ankles, and feet, are often culprits of injuries like this. Rest properly, and change up your routine to avoid this.
- Listen to your body. If you feel unwell or very tired, take a break. If you can’t finish an exercise session, feel faint after exercise, or experience a pot of aches and pains in your joints, cut back.
- If you have to take a break from exercise, come back with a lower level of exercise at first. For example, if you’ve had a break from strength training, light a lighter weight or do fewer reps or sets when you return.
- Drink plenty of water. If you’re working out hard, choose a drink that will replace fluids and essential electrolytes.
- Wear clothes and shoes that have been designed for the exercise you’re doing. Shoes should be replaced every six months.
- Good form is essential for strength training. When you’re learning the exercise, start with no or very lightweight until you’ve learned the move properly. Don’t rush to finish or struggle to lift a weight that is too heavy.
- Exercising in hot, humid weather can lead to overheating and dehydration. When temperatures are high, slow your pace down, or try to work out in an air-conditioned gym, or during cooler morning and evening times. Headaches, dizziness, nausea, faintness, cramps, and palpitations are signs of overheating. Stop if you experience them.
- If you’re exercising outside in the cold, dress properly for the cold to avoid hypothermia. Wear layers that you can take off as you warm up.
Delayed muscle soreness can start 12 to 24 hours after a workout, and will gradually fade. This is normal. However, persistent or intense muscle pain that starts during or right after your workout, or soreness that stays for more than one or two weeks, means you should call your doctor.