• General Safety Tips for Getting Started With Exercise


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    No matter which type of exercise you do, there are certain factors to consider each and every time you exercise. Most are important for your safety.

    • Check with your doctor before starting an exercise program. 
    • Set aside a specific time each day to make physical activity and exercise part of your routine. Exercising in the morning may help you make sure something doesn’t come up in the day to make you skip it.
    • When needed, you can break up your daily activity goal into smaller sessions. For example, you could go for a 10-minute walk three times a day, or a 15-minute walk two times a day to get the recommended amount of moderate intensity activity—30 minutes a day, 5 days of the week. Just make sure the shorter sessions are at least 10 minutes long.
    • Get a friend or family member to join you. This will make your physical activity more enjoyable, help you encourage each other, and it’s the safest way to exercise.
    • Always warm up for at least 5 to 10 minutes (or longer if you have special considerations) before any physical activity and cool down at least 5 to 10 minutes at the end of your activity.
    • To stay hydrated, drink water before, during, and after exercise.
    • Maintain proper form during exercise. It is essential for safety and effectiveness. Seek the help of a physical therapist, or certified personal trainer if needed. Start with light activities and light weights as you improve your form and get accustomed to the exercises you are doing. Start slowly and work your way up to more physically challenging activities. For many people, walking is a particularly good place to begin.
    • Vary your exercise program. When you do the same activities over and over, your body becomes efficient at performing them. Plus, you may get bored. You will need to change your routine every six to eight weeks to keep your body constantly adapting. When you do, your muscles will have to work harder, you will burn more calories, and you will be challenged. For example, if you continue to walk the same mile each day at the same intensity and in the same amount of time, your body becomes used to the routine. To change things up so your body can be challenged, you could walk the mile more quickly, or find a hilly street to increase the intensity. You could also alternate walking with another more challenging physical activity. But the point is to keep adjusting to improve your fitness. If you are up for a challenge, interval training is a great way to keep your body challenged and guessing what comes next during your physical activity.
    • Figuring out your Target Heart Rate and taking the Talk Test are two ways to monitor your body and make sure you are not working harder than you are able to as you begin your heart-healthy physical activity plan.
    • In addition to cardio, strength training, and stretching exercises, consider also practicing specific balance exercises to help prevent falls and injuries. Balance techniques are used frequently as exercises in yoga or more simple forms of balancing exercises such as walking heal-to-toe, standing on one foot, or standing up and sitting down without using your hands (using support as needed for safety).
    • If at any time you feel lightheadedness, dizziness, or chest discomfort during physical activity, call your doctor or dial 911 in the case of an emergency.