March 27, 2007 – There’s nothing like a beautiful spring day to get outdoors and take advantage of activities like riding a bike, taking a walk, or even catching up on outdoor home repairs. It can also be time to start something new for ourselves like beginning an exercise/fitness program to improve your health or lose those extra pounds we gained in the winter months. Regular physical activity is essential for good health and can reduce the risk of premature death, heart disease, stroke or even cancer. It also helps prevent or lessen the severity of osteoporosis, musculoskeletal problems and fall-related injuries. Problems can arise, however, if your idea of winter exercise consisted of watching TV or taking out the trash. Too often, people jump into physical activities without taking the necessary steps to prepare their body for the activity. Here are a few things to keep in mind before starting an exercise program or heading outdoors:

  • Wear the Right Shoes. It’s important to make sure your shoes fit right, are comfortable and provide the support and stability needed for any activity you are involved in.
  • Warming Up and Cooling Down. Warming up before exercising and cooling down afterward can help prevent injury, especially if the activity or exercise program is vigorous.
  • If You Are Overweight. Consider beginning with low-impact activities such swimming, cycling or walking. These activities put less strain on joints. Also, don’t stop exercising because you don’t lose weight, these are many health-related benefits associated with physical activity even when weight loss doesn’t occur.
  • Types of Activities. Don’t limit yourself when it comes to getting in shape. A number of different activities count as exercising such as gardening, mowing the lawn, and using the stairs at work.
  • Pace Yourself. Do too much your first time out, and you are more likely to injure yourself. The longer since you’ve done the activity, the longer it will take to get into the full swing of things.
  • Drink Lots of Fluids. Staying hydrated and drinking lots of fluids keeps your body at its best.

Physical therapists realize that each individual is unique, and can develop specific methods to determine how fit you are, and what types of activities your body can handle. By taking the time to talk to a physical therapist, you can get a personalized conditioning program that if followed properly: will help prevent injury, promote fitness and get the most out of those physical activities you enjoy. 21st Century Rehab invites you to call any of our locations and see how we can help you get back to optimal health!

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