Friday, June 1, 2012

Exercise and Safety

Exercise and Health Issues
Almost anyone, at any age, can do some type of physical activity. Of course you can exercise, even if you are diabetic, or have suffered a heart attack.  In fact, chances are good that your doctor has recommended physical activity as a part of your recovery or management of your particular issues. For most folks just starting out, brisk walking, riding a bike, swimming, weight lifting, and gardening are safe, especially if you build up slowly. As always, check with your doctor if you aren’t used to energetic activity. Other reasons to check with your doctor before you exercise include:
  • Any new symptom you haven’t discussed with your doctor
  • Dizziness or shortness of breath
  • Chest pain or pressure or the feeling that your heart is skipping, racing, or fluttering
  • Blood clots
  • An infection or fever with muscle aches
  • Unplanned weight loss
  • Foot or ankle sores that won’t heal
  • Joint swelling
  • A bleeding or detached retina, eye surgery, or laser treatment
  • A hernia
  • Recent hip or back surgery

Keeping it Safe

Here are some things you can do to make sure you are exercising safely:
  • Start slowly, especially if you haven’t been active for a long time. Build your activities little by little, and be patient with yourself.
  • Holding your breath during weight lifting activities isn't a good idea.  Try to focus on exhaling while your push or pull, and inhaling as you slowly release the resistance.
  • Always use safety equipment. For example, wear a helmet for bike riding or the right shoes for walking or jogging.
  • Unless your doctor has asked you to limit fluids, be sure to drink plenty when you are doing activities. 
  • Always hinge forward from the hips, not the waist. If you keep your back straight, you’re probably bending the right way. If your back “rounds,” that’s probably wrong.
  • Warm up your muscles before you stretch. Try walking and light arm pumping first.
Exercise should not hurt or make you feel really tired. You might feel some soreness, a little discomfort, or a bit weary, but you should not feel pain. After the first couple of weeks, you will begin to feel better, and your routine will begin to become a part of your daily schedule.  Start slow, and increase bit by bit; you will be happy that you did!

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