Last Sunday’s Weekend Tip covered six ways to get more aerobic exercise. This week we provide some suggestions for making your aerobic workouts safe and effective.
- Always warm up before you get into the full swing of aerobic activity. The best warm-up is a slowed-down version of the activity you are about to perform. For example, walk, run, or cycle in slow motion. You will see many people stretching as a warm-up, but this does not prepare muscles for aerobic exercise as well as slow movement does.
- Give yourself a few minutes of cool-down at the end of the activity. Repeat the same movements in slow motion. This post-workout period is also the best time to stretch the muscles if you desire.
- If you have never exercised, get a medical checkup before you start an exercise program. If you have a history of heart trouble or high blood pressure or a strong family history of such problems, a cardiac stress test may be in order.
- Pay attention to your body! Discontinue exercise if you develop unusual aches or pains.
- Stop exercising immediately if you develop dizziness, lightheadedness, fainting, chest pains, or difficulty breathing. Get a medical checkup promptly.
- Your heart rate and breathing should return to normal within five to 10 minutes after the end of aerobic exercise. If they do not, get a medical checkup.
- Do not exercise if you are sick. Wait until you feel better, then resume gradually. Don’t worry about losing fitness; it will come back quickly enough. Strenuous exercise at the onset of illness can cause you to be sicker longer.
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