Exercise is an essential component of a healthy life. However, when safety procedures are not followed, injuries or health problems can occur. The following safety guidelines will help you to get the most out of your exercise session.
Consult a doctor
Ask your doctor before starting any type of exercise program. This is especially important if you have health issues such as heart problems or diabetes.
Wear comfortable, properly fitting shoes. Walk around or even jog (if the shop lets you do so) in new shoes before buying them. Shoes should not chafe any part of the foot or be too tight. Avoid exercising in worn-out shoes – a lack of support now can lead to injuries later.
Warming up is an essential start to any exercise session. This prepares your muscles for more prolonged or intense activity. Warm-ups can include running in place for a few minutes or performing low-intensity versions of your main exercise activities, and should always include stretching.
Safety is extremely important when stretching. To avoid injury or muscle strain, follow these basic tips:
Stretch only to the point of tension – this sensation means your muscles are working. A stretch should never feel painful. Use gradual, sustained movements when stretching.
Never bounce, as quick back-and-forth motions can cause muscles to strain or tear.
Remember to breathe normally. Breathing deeply and easily when stretching increases the flow of oxygen to your muscles. Holding your breath can increase muscle tension and make stretching difficult.
Cooling down involves gradually reducing your activity levels after exercise. Stopping exercise abruptly can cause dizziness, cramps, and sometimes severe problems such as cardiac arrest in individuals with health issues.
To cool down, engage in lower-intensity versions of your main exercises or walk slowly until you can comfortably come to a stop. Your heart rate should be close to normal and you should be able to breathe normally when cooling down finishes.