Regular exercise has not just physical benefits, but great impact on your general well-being. It is also important to take the necessary safety precautions to maintain good health and remain injury-free.
It is advisable to check with your doctor and eye specialist prior to embarking on any physical activity in order to rule out any underlying health concerns that could worsen with exercise.
These include but not limited to:
- heart disease
- respiratory condition/asthma
- joint or bone disease/arthritis
- neurological disease
- risk factors for heart disease
- chest pain
- shortness of breath
- eye condition
Having had the ‘all-clear’ from your physician, there are however some precautions worth taking to
avoid sustaining injuries, ensure general safety, and reap the full benefits from your workouts.
 Workout Gear
The choice of clothing and shoes goes hand in hand with, and must be designed for the type of exercise. Also important is the use of protective gear, which is deemed a must-have.
Suggestions of general workout gear include:
- shin pads
- lights for late exercises
- footwear with adequate traction
- loose-fitting clothes and sweat-absorbing fabrics
- chemical heat packs to warm up your hands or feet
- knee and elbow shields
- hi-viz / reflective clothing
- gloves / mittens
- headbands / hats
 Warming Up And Cooling Down
For starters, always take 5-10 minutes to prepare your muscles and joints by performing a low to moderate intensity warm-up such as brisk walking or jogging, as cold muscles are more likely to get injured.
The warm-up should engage major muscle groups that would be used in your workout and could then be followed by stretching. Again, cooling down with a light jog, brisk walk and stretching after your workout session will improve muscle flexibility and range of motion of the joints. Muscle soreness is reduced to a great extent and it helps relieve tension.
 Exercise As A Daily Routine
Exercising daily by starting off slowly and increasing your workout in stages in terms of intensity and duration is the way forward. With time it will become second nature and for previously sedentary people this is a good strategy in developing and adapting to a new routine.
Take it in small doses on a daily basis and I bet you’re on your way to becoming the world’s next top exercise maven!
Drinking water prior to, during and after your workout sessions does prevent dehydration, symptoms of which include fatigue, dizziness, muscle cramps, heat stress and heat stroke.
Avoid beverages like alcohol, tea and coffee before or after any physical activity as these promote fluid loss. For strenuous workouts, marathons or triathlons, you may opt for electrolytes fluid replacement drinks.
With regard to fitness and living a healthy lifestyle, nutrition is just as important as exercise for achieving desired results. This requires proper planning towards having adequate healthy food to fuel your daily workout.
There are also specific foods which are ideal for pre-workout, intra-workout and post-workout.
 Listen To Your Body
Fatigue, faintness, discomfort, injuries and illness are all red flags or indicators for you to hold off on exercise and take a break for recovery.
Avoid all physical activities at this stage, have adequate rest and seek medical attention if required.
 Balanced Fitness Program
Having a balanced fitness program is key to warding off boredom and preventing overuse injuries. These injuries, otherwise known as cumulative trauma disorders, are basically damage to tendons, ligaments, muscle and soft tissue due to repetitive demand over the course of time.
It is worth incorporating a fair mix of cardio, anaerobic and flexibility exercises in your workouts in order to obtain a total body workout. This helps prevent wear and tear or putting so much strain on any body part. Secondly, caution must be taken to avoid training and technique errors as these contribute largely to overuse injuries.
 Safe Use Of Appropriate Equipment
Various equipments are required for different types of fitness training. In order to curb sustaining injuries, you are strongly advised to use the appropriate equipment for the type of activity, i.e, use equipment that was intended for the type of exercise and not otherwise. Not only is this important but the safe use of the right equipment is equally vital.
 Outdoor Safety
Outdoor fitness activities like brisk-walking, cycling and jogging would require some level of caution and vigilance. Arm yourself with the tips below:
- face on-coming traffic
- avoid using headphones or earphones as their use lowers your level of alertness
- use busy, familiar and alternative routes
- use well-lit areas
- look out for obstacles and uneven ground
- be wary of weirdos or suspicious-looking strangers lurking in the trail
 Key Sources Of Help
In the event that you require any assistance regarding your overall health or fitness and exercise regimen, you may want to contact the relevant persons indicated below:
- your personal physician
- a sports medical doctor
- a physiotherapist
- an exercise physiologist
- a chiropractor
- a chiropodist
- a sports association
- a gym trainer/instructor
- a dietitian
- a nutritionist