Lower risk for cardiovascular disease, improved mental/brain health, lower blood pressure, reduced cholesterol, less inflammation, better mobility, and more: these are the benefits of exercise. But as necessary as consistency is in reaping its benefits, exercising safely might be paramount. For those looking to start exercising or seeking specific goals, it’s important to know how to keep yourself out of danger.
Like anything else, exercise carries inherent risks. Knowing how to minimize those risks can help you stay active and healthy for years to come.
The first is to exercise to your current fitness abilities. It is not a good idea for a sedentary person or one who has not exercised in years to join a high-intensity fitness program. Further, if you haven’t got great balance, running is not the best option; swimming would be more suitable. If you have joint pain, cycling, swimming, or something else that’s easy on the joints would be better than high-impact movements like running.
If you have any existing medical conditions, talk to your doctor before beginning. They can provide an assessment and work with your trainer (if you higher one) for safe programming.
Warming up is a way to prevent injury and loosen up your joints and muscles. Walking on a treadmill in place or to your exercise location is a good way to get warm. Don’t jump right into a workout cold—you’ll run a serious risk of injury. A few warm-up movements for the specific area you’re targeting is also recommended.
Alternating workouts is also a smart approach to avoid injury, muscle fatigue, and joint pain. So, if you do a cardio-style (swimming, cycling) workout on Monday, lifting weights on Tuesday would be a wise call. If you’re doing an upper body workout on Thursday, do lower body on Friday. Alternating exercise modalities is ideal for preventing overuse, strain, injury, and also encourages recovery.
If you’re not feeling well or there is joint pain, a rapid heartbeat, or light-headedness, stop the workout. Don’t fall victim to the idea that you have to be in pain or keep going at all costs. Listen to your body and respond—it knows when it’s ready or has had too much.
Exercise can be the best thing for your health, but all those benefits are only experienced with safety and consistency. Workout safely to reduce the risk of injury so you can spend more time being active.