Exercising regularly has wide-ranging physical, emotional and social health benefits. You need to exercise safely to remain healthy and injury-free. If it’s safe and painless, you’re more likely to stick to it! Safety is about using common sense, understanding basic techniques and listening to your body.
See your doctor for a check-up before embarking on a physical activity program. Your doctor, physiotherapist or local sporting club can offer you tips about staying safe while exercising.
Here are some tips to stay safe and injury-free:
- Be aware of your body – Think about how the particular exercise is making you feel. If something doesn’t feel right, stop immediately.
- Warm up and cool down – Try slow stretches and go through the motions of your sport or activity before starting. Cool down with slow stretching.
- Pace yourself – Have at least one recovery day each week to rest. If you are experiencing pain, rest until the pain has gone.
- Mix it up – Try other sports and exercises to reduce the risk of overtraining.
- Strap or tape – If a joint is prone to injury, consider strapping or taping it before exercising. Even better, see an exercise physiologist or physiotherapist to obtain a program to strengthen the injured area and get advice on proper taping techniques.
- Stay hydrated – You can lose around one and a half litres of fluid for every hour of exercise; so drink water before, during and after a session.
- Be weather aware – Take it easier in hot weather and wear clothing and sunscreen to protect yourself from the elements.
- Do it right – Try to get the technique right from the beginning, to ensure you are using your muscles correctly. Don’t try to over exercise or over stretch when you are not ready. Practice makes it perfect so if you do it regularly, you will be able to do all your postures correctly eventually.
- Check your gear – Make sure your shoes and equipment fit properly and are right for the activity. Look after your equipment and check it regularly for safety.
- Be sensible – especially at night or in secluded areas. Take a friend or your dog, stick to well-lit areas and wear bright or light-reflective clothing so drivers can see you..