left-arrow right-arrow Twitter Twitter Facebook Facebook Instagram YouTube Google Plus LinkedIn Email

The Do's and Don'ts of Exercising Safely

Healthy Lifestyle
Published: July 17, 2019

 

Most of us know how important regular exercise is to our health.

It builds muscle mass and strength, improves flexibility and cardiovascular endurance, and aids with overall function, allowing us to perform daily activities more easily.

Regular exercise can also reduce the likelihood of illness, help maintain healthy body weight and increase the body’s level of endorphins – which can improve mood and energy levels.

In short, exercise can greatly improve your overall quality of life. 

But starting and maintaining a safe exercise program isn’t as simple as flipping a switch. Here are a few do’s and don’ts to consider before you get started:

Do consult with your primary care provider before starting any exercise program. This is especially important if you are pregnant or have a heart condition or other medical issues.

Do find exercise you enjoy and will continue with on a consistent basis. Eventually, it’s a good idea to incorporate multiple types of exercise into your program.

Do exercise indoors or during cooler times of day when the weather is hot.

Do wear warm clothing with layers when the weather is cold.

Do wear supportive and proper shoes. 

Do get the blood flowing with a warm-up activity like walking.

Do drink water before, during and after exercising.

Do exercise with correct technique and form.

Do begin with a lower level of exercise intensity and gradually increase it over time.

Do stop any exercise that causes or increases pain. Stop exercising immediately if you experience chest pain or extreme breathlessness.

Do find a friend to motivate you while looking out for your safety.

 

Don’t begin your first day of exercise at a high intensity level.

Don’t exercise in extreme heat or cold temperatures if you’re not acclimated to it.

Don’t exercise at a high intensity day after day. Give yourself one or two recovery days per week. It’s OK to exercise daily at lower intensities.

Don’t continue exercising with an injury. Give the injured area time to heal.

Don’t get too caught up in the “no pain, no gain” mantra. Exercise should begin to push and stretch your limits but not be a painful experience. 

Don’t get discouraged by soreness and stiffness in the first few days after starting your exercise program. This discomfort will go away after you get used to exercising.

So, what are you waiting for? Talk to your doctor, find an exercise you like and get started. You owe it to yourself to experience all the benefits regular exercise has to offer.

More resources

Don Anderson

About the Author:

Don Anderson, PT, is a physical therapist at Methodist Physicians Clinic Regency. He specializes in outpatient orthopedics and enjoys helping patients with a variety of ailments, including sports and spinal injuries as well as postsurgical issues.

See More Articles by Don Anderson