How to stay safe during exercise and physical activity

“Maybe we are over doing it/”

Almost anyone, at any age, can exercise safely and get meaningful benefits. You can be active even if you have a chronic condition, like heart disease, diabetes, or arthritis. Staying safe while you exercise is always important, whether you’re just starting a new activity or haven’t been active for a long time.

Older woman stretching her triceps and smiling

Over-exercising can cause injury, which may lead to quitting. A steady rate of progress is the best approach.

To play it safe and reduce your risk of injury:

Begin your exercise program slowly with low-intensity exercises.

Wear appropriate shoes for your activity.

Warm up before exercising and cool down afterward.

Pay attention to your surroundings when exercising outdoors.

Drink water before, during, and after your workout session, even if you don’t feel thirsty.

Dress appropriately for the temperature outdoors or opt for an indoor activity if it’s very hot or cold.

If you have specific health conditions, discuss your exercise and physical activity plan with your health care provider.

Endurance. Listen to your body. Your breathing may become faster, but you should still be able to talk.

Strength. You will need a chair to do many of the strength exercises on the Go4Life website. Be sure to choose one that is sturdy.

Balance. Have that sturdy chair handy or a person nearby to hold on to for your balance exercises if you feel unsteady.

Flexibility. Always warm up before stretching exercises—a few minutes of walking works well.

Talking with Your Healthcare Provider

Most people don’t need to check with their healthcare provider first before doing physical activity. However, you may want to talk with your healthcare provider if you aren’t active and you want to start a vigorous exercise program or significantly increase your physical activity. Your activity level is an important topic to discuss with your healthcare provider as part of your ongoing health care.

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