Play it Safe! 5 Ways to Avoid Injury When Starting A New Exercise Program
Posted on: April 13th, 2015 by Melanie Butler, BS, Clinical Exercise Specialist
- Wear the Right Shoes! Get a good pair of athletic shoes appropriate for your new exercise program. If you are running, you need a running shoe. If you are walking, you need a walking shoe, etc. Local specialty stores can fit you in a proper shoe for the arch of your foot as well as how you walk.
- Warm Up, Cool Down and Stretch! Warm-ups allow your body temperature and heart rate to gradually increase. They also increase blood flow to the working muscles, preparing your body for more intense exercise. Cool-downs gradually decrease body temperature, blood pressure and heart rate. Stretching may help reduce delayed muscle soreness and will definitely help the body to relax after intense exercise.
- Don’t Get Bored, Cross Train! Cross-training is simply doing different activities each day or week, instead of the same routine every day. Cross training not only keeps it fun, it helps you to avoid reaching that dreaded plateau, lets big muscle groups rest and increases metabolism.
- Include Strength Training, Resistance Training and Core Exercises! Don’t just focus on the cardio component of exercise! Strengthening muscles– especially surrounding weaker joints like knees and hips– helps to prevent injury and increases functionality for everyday activities such as squatting to pick up a box, walking up and down stairs and standing up from a chair. Strong core muscles help to alleviate and prevent back pain.
- Listen to Your Body! Always give your body at least one day of rest each week. Your body will tell you loud and clear if you need more rest; listen to it! Normal muscle fatigue or soreness is OK for a day or two, but if you feel pain, STOP immediately. Pain can only mean one of two things: either you are doing the exercise incorrectly, or you already have an injury. If you experience pain and it doesn’t subside after three days of true rest, then it’s time to see a doctor.