Everyone hears the constant refrain about how important it is for us to exercise. It is important to exercise, but it is important to exercise safely and correctly.
Some of the things to consider with safe exercise:
- If you have not been active and are starting a new exercise program, you should first check with your doctor. This is true for all people, but it is especially true if you have any heart problems. If you haven’t been diagnosed with any heart problems, but have symptoms such as shortness of breath, periods of feeling dizzy or light headed, feel your heart racing, have chest pain, or any other symptoms you need to see a doctor before you begin your exercise program. It doesn’t mean that you can’t exercise, but you have to find out what are the safe ranges of exercise for you.
- Muscle soreness is a natural part of exercising, but if you are having joint pain, or any other pain that is getting worse over time, you should consult with your physical therapist or physician to be sure that you are not causing injury.
- Be sure that you know how to perform each exercise correctly. Any exercise that is causing pain may be due to incorrect performance of the exercise, or it may be due to other problems.
- If an exercise is causing pain, STOP! The old adage “no pain, no gain”, is FALSE. Pain is an indicator of injury. Again, feeling that “muscle burn” is okay, and necessary in order to gain strength. However, for anything else, remember that pain = injury. If you are simply having normal muscle soreness, it should go away in a few days and decrease as you continue to exercise. Pain that continues to cause problems and persists more than a week is likely indicating a problem.
At any time, if you are experiencing pain or other symptoms (such as dizziness, shortness of breath, etc.) you should consult with a healthcare professional. You can speak with your doctor or call a physical therapist.