It’s no secret that regular physical activity can slow down the aging process. Regular exercise enhances muscle and joint function, keeps bones strong, and decreases risk of heart attack and stroke. However, during physical activities, care must be taken to prevent injury.
Tips to help you practice safe exercise include the following:
- Warm up – Research has shown that cold muscles are more prone to injury.
- Cool Down -Stretching after physical activity can help your body recover more quickly from exercise.
- Consistent Exercise Programs – Compressing exercises to only one or two times a week does not increase your fitness level but can increase your risk of injury. Instead, try to get 30 minutes of moderate activity a day. This can include walking, gardening, or even taking the stairs instead of the elevator.
- Be Prepared – Take lessons. Proper instruction reduces the chance of developing an “overuse” injury like tendinitis or stress fracture. Additionally, utilizing the proper equipment, such as adequate shoes, can decrease you risk of injury.
- Listen to your body – As we age, we become less flexible and may not be able to physically push ourselves as we once did. Modify your activity for your body’s capabilities and needs.
- Use the 10% rule – When altering your activity level, increase it in increments of no more then 10% per week.
- Balance Fitness – Develop an exercise program that incorporates cardiovascular exercise, strength training and flexibility. A balanced program will minimize boredom and prevent injury.
Always remember that if you have had an orthopedic injury such as tendinitis, arthritis, a stress fracture or low back pain, ask for a consult so we can help you design a fitness routine to promote wellness and minimize injury.
Resources: American Orthopedic Society for Sports Medicine and American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons.