Physical activity has many benefits, including increasing overall strength and health. Regular exercise can help muscle and joint function, strengthen bones, and decreases your risk of heart attack and stroke. However, you need to take additional precautions to avoid injury. The American Orthopedic Society for Sports Medicine and the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons offers these tips to help you exercise safely.
- Warming up is essential to helping to prevent injuries when exercising. Be sure to take time to stretch and warm up your muscles with some slow jogging, walking, jumping jacks, or other gentle activities.
- It is better to spread out your exercise routine over the course of a week, rather than trying to do most of your activity during the weekend. A goal of thirty minutes of exercise every day is the most beneficial to overall fitness. You can achieve this by incorporating some physical activity into your daily life–walk the dog, work in your garden, or take a walk during your lunch hour.
- A balanced fitness program will include cardiovascular exercise, strength training, and flexibility exercises. Not only is this better for your overall fitness level but balancing your fitness will also help to prevent injuries.
- If you are interested in adding a new activity, remember to take it slow. You need to let your body become accustomed to new modes of movement and stresses. Jumping head-first into a new activity could end up initially doing more harm than good.
- As you age, you may find that you are not as flexible as you once were. Be sure to listen to your body to help prevent injuries from activities that may be more difficult for you now. If you have had an injury in the past, or have arthritis or low back pain, consult your doctor to find out which activities are best for you.
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