6 Tips for a Safe Workout
Each June, the National Safety Council celebrates National Safety Month as a time to bring the attention to key safety issues. As the month winds down, we thought it would be a good idea to bring forward some fitness safety tips that we can follow throughout the year.
Here are some tips that all of us to make sure we exercise safely -- and still get results:
1. Start Slowly
If you are just beginning to get back into regular exercise or if you're trying a new workout, it's important to start slowly. Don't think that you are going to finish a triathlon in your first week of training. You need to build stamina so your body gets accustomed to a new or different physical exertion. The majority of exercise-related injuries are a result of pushing too hard when you are just starting. Start your routine with brief intervals or low resistance -- and gradually build up the intensity.
2. Learn the Right Technique
Even the most physically fit need to make sure that they are following the right technique when exercising. Holding the wrong position while working out can lead to serious injury and compromise your results. If you're uncertain, always ask one of i.d.'s instructors or trainers to show you how to perform certain exercises. Before using weight machines or lifting freeweights, get some advice on the proper positioning. This will prevent muscle strains and sprains.
3. Warm Up and Cool Down
Experts say that the most important part of exercising is the 10 minutes before and after your workout. If you jump right into your workout, you risk damaging your muscles or possibly straining your heart. Do some slow jogging to increase your heart rate and warm up your muscles and then stretch before heading into full-blown activities. After your workout, cool down properly to normalize your heart rate and limber up muscles with some walking and stretching.
4. Get the Right Gear
Most of us are on budgets, and we don't have a lot of extras dollars to spend on exercise clothes and equipment, but working out is not the time to cut corners, especially when it comes to choosing the footwear. Get the right pair of shoes for your exercise routine. Every activity requires differing levels of arch and ankle support. Runners need shoes that have good arch support and a tread for a variety of surfaces. If you play tennis, you will want to look for a court shoe with good ankle support and a flat tread. Basketball players will want to opt for high tops to support the whole foot.
5. Stay Hydrated
When you exercise, your heart pumps faster and your body naturally sweats -- these are good things! But the more you sweat, the more water your body is losing. Be sure to drink water before, during and after exercise. Dehydration can lead to serious problems, including dizziness and heat stroke.
6. Know the Warning Signs
Be sure to know how to recognize signs that say you have done too much. Stop exercising if you experience any of the following: Acute or chronic pain, dizziness, a sudden headache, swelling of the face, hands or feet and chest pain.