Tips to Make Sure You Are Exercising Safely
The payoff from your commitment to exercise should be increased muscle mass, weight loss, or a boost to your health. What you don’t want is to feel unrelenting pain, a possible sign of over-training, or to sustain an injury from your fitness efforts. Here are some tips to help you exercise safely and avoid injury:
Stretching can help to limit pain and discomfort post work out, and it can also help to keep you limber so you avoid injuries. But there is a right way and a right time to stretch. Never stretch cold muscles. If you plan on stretching before your workout, then first do some active movements like walking in place, jumping with a rope, or do a gentle series of jumping jacks. Jogging in place to warm up your whole body is another way to warm up before you begin your fitness routine. You can then do some gentle stretching exercises for your arms and legs before actively exercising, or save stretching for once you’re done with your exercise program. After your workout, when your body is extremely warm and pliable, you can do a cool down and full stretch routine.
Walking poles can help you to walk more safely if you have balance issues, are tackling some steep climbing (or coming down a steep trail), or if you have arthritis or any other joint ailments. The poles reduce impact on joints, normalize your gait, and help to improve overall balance on a trail or path. Walking poles can also enhance your regular walking workout, making it a full body workout. That effort can translate into burning more calories, by increasing your heart rate with a more targeted use of arms and legs while moving. Make sure to get the walking poles sized to your height by a professional.
Cycling, a non-weight bearing exercise, is perfect for cross-training since so many of the exercise routines we choose to do (running, walking, kickboxing, Zumba) are weight bearing. Switching off with cycling (outdoors or on a stationary bike) allows leg muscles to train in a different way, giving your legs time off from supporting your body during a vigorous exercise. Cross training this way can also help to limit lower limb injuries and help to avoid over-training certain muscle groups.