Are you ready to exercise? Do you know what to wear? Are you overtraining? While exercise is important to keep us active, healthy and fit, it is important to exercise safely. By following these simple guidelines, you can greatly reduce your risk of injury.
- Always consult with your medical professional before starting any exercise program to ensure that you are ready to become more active. Be informed of any restrictions and/or special considerations and adjust your workout accordingly to suit your needs.
- Wear appropriate exercise clothing. Choose clothing made out of fabric that takes perspiration away from the skin. When exercising in colder weather, dress in layers for warmth and to give you the flexibility to shred off the extra layers when you get too hot.
- Wear the right footwear. Choose shoes specific for your sport. Your shoes should fit your feet comfortably and support the impact of your activity.
- Do not overeat. When you overeat, your energy will be used to digest your food, leaving you with less energy to exercise. Instead, eat a light snack 1-2 hours before you exercise to reduce the chance of hunger pangs and to fuel you for your workout. A piece of fruit is a good choice.
- Drink water before, during, and after your workout to ensure proper hydration. Dehydration can limit your ability to concentrate and affect your performance. A good general rule of thumb is to drink 10-15 ounces of fluid 10-15 minutes prior to starting your activity, and every 20-30 minutes during the activity. Drink another 10-15 ounces of water after your workout.
- Avoid strenuous aerobic exercise during viral infections such as the flu or any upper respiratory tract infections.
- Do not exercise if you have any swollen, stiff or painful joint(s).
- Always warm-up to prepare your body appropriately for exercise. Warm-up activities can be as simple as walking or jogging in place for 5-10 minutes.
- Warm muscles are less susceptible to injury.
- Stretching should follow the warm-up period to better prepare your muscles for exercise. Perform stretches of the full body.
- Ensure proper breathing at all times. Do not hold in your breath! Exhale upon exertion.
- Always perform exercises with proper form and technique. Take the guesswork out of the gym. If you don’t know how to do the exercise, avoid it completely.
- Always keep good posture. Use your abdominal muscles to keep your torso strong and to protect your lower back from the risk of injury. Also make sure that your body weight is evenly distributed.
- Do not lock your joints. (i.e. elbows and knees)
- Stand up slowly to avoid a head rush or blackout.
- Always start off with no weight or very little weight to make sure that the exercise equipment that you are using is working properly.
- Don’t do too much too soon! Gradually increase the intensity of your workouts. Adjust your workout to ensure that the intensity is right for you.
- Stop exercise at the first sign of any discomfort. This includes any symptoms of feeling faint, dizziness, pain, sickness, shortness of breath and/or heart palpitation. Never work through pain. Pain usually indicates a problem or potential underlying injury. You need to pay attention to the warning signs that your body provides.
- Never force, pull or strain your body. Avoid any jerking movements. All movements should be performed with control.
- Never move your body out of its natural alignment and range of motion.
- Do not lift from a stoop (i.e. bent-over with back rounded).
- Do not overtrain. Provide 24-72 hours of rest between workouts of the same muscle groups. Some soreness is common after exercising, but if it continues, you overworked. Lessen the intensity of your next workout. If the soreness continues to persist, consult with your medical professional.
- Keep your exercise area clear of other people and dangerous objects.
- Always check your exercise equipment to ensure security and safety before use.
- Make sure all adjustments on the seat, bench or machine are tightened and securely locked in place.
- Adjust the exercise equipment to fit the size of your body.
- Make sure that the stability ball you use is an anti-burst ball which does not pop when punctured.
- Never try to patch a punctured stability ball. Purchase a new one.
- Do not use a stability ball on any surfaces that may be sharp or slippery.
- Secure and tighten collars on all free weights before use.
- Check exercise tubings for any tears in the rubber. If the tubing is worn out, do not use.
Every month Anna Wong, personal fitness trainer to the stars, will be writing a column for Asiance Magazine. This column is dedicated to your questions and concerns in health and fitness. Your suggestions and requests are welcome. This column is for you so your feedback is important. To contact Anna, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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