It’s great to work out and get fit but no one wants to get hurt in the process, so it’s important to to keep some basic safety rules in mind when exercising. First of all, always warm up and warm down before and after exercise. Do gentle stretches first and warm ups so you don’t pull a muscle. If you are starting out with a new exercise machine, read the instructions and don’t overdo it. It’s a good idea to get a checkup from your doctor before you start to pick up any hidden health problems that may affect your training. Whether jogging or lifting weights, start small and work up. Pain does not necessarily mean gain.
If you are exercising outside, you need to take some safety precautions. If you are bicycling, wear a helmet and follow all the road rules. Make sure your brakes work and that your bicycle has lights and reflectors if you are riding after dark. And remember that drivers are not always aware of cyclists. Play it safe to stay safe. If you are walking or jogging, wear light, easy to see clothing or reflective clothing at night. Wear sunglasses and sunscreen if it’s a sunny day. Look both ways before you cross streets. If you are jogging, consider taking a companion or a dog with you for protection. If you are running in the city, also consider the air quality and give it a miss on high pollution days to protect your lungs. Jogging on concrete can also cause problems so make sure you wear good shoes with adequate support.
Swimming is great exercise too but don’t swim alone. In a pool, wear goggles to protect your eyes from the chlorine. Breathe regularly and deeply to prevent shallow water blackout. Walk, don’t run, around the pool and if it’s an outdoor pool or body of water, remember to wear sunscreen to prevent sunburn and skin cancer. If you are not a good swimmer, get some lessons first. Swimming is an excellent form of exercise because the water provides buoyancy and takes the weight off your joints. If you have arthritis or joint problems, swimming is a low impact form of exercise that is much safer for joints than exercises like jogging.
If you decide to go for something more adventurous such as mountain climbing, talk to the experts first. Get the right equipment and follow all safety advice. If you are going bushwalking, be sure to have a map or stick to the trails. Don’t go alone; take a companion. Be sure to carry water with you and don’t get dehydrated. If you are going into rough country, carry some basic supplies such as a warm jacket, matches, torch and emergency rations. Let someone know where you are going and when you will return.
Perhaps one of the martial arts appeals to you instead. Check out the local dojos first and make sure that the instructors are properly qualified. Talk to practitioners and see if the style suits you. Some martial arts are full contact while others are gentler. Once you start, listen to the advice of your instructor, but also to your own body: if you are being asked to do something that hurts, stop.
There are many ways to get fit but also many ways to get hurt. Be sensible, observe basic safety precautions and your exercise program will give positive results.