Beginning an Exercise Program

While exercises like stretching, strength and balance seem simple, it's always a good idea to begin by working with a trainer. Injuries can result of improperly performed exercises, especially if you have had treatment for specific joint or bone problems.

The National Institute on Health offers the following tips:

  • Start slowly. Your body needs time to get used to your new activity.
  • Warm up. Warm-ups get your body ready for action. Shrug your shoulders, tap your toes, swing your arms, or march in place. You should spend a few minutes warming up for any activity-even walking.
  • Cool down. Slow down little by little. If you have been walking fast, walk slower to cool down. Or stretch for a few minutes. Cooling down may protect your heart, relax your muscles, and keep you from getting hurt.
  • Set goals. Set short-term and long-term goals. A short-term goal may be to walk 5 minutes at least 3 days for 1 week. A long-term goal may be to walk 30 minutes most days of the week by the end of 6 months.
  • Track progress. Keep a journal of your activity. You may not feel like you are making progress but when you look back at where you started, you may be pleasantly surprised!
  • Fit activity into your daily life. Plan ahead and try to be active when it works best for you.
  • Get support. Get a family member or friend to be active with you. It may be more fun, and an exercise buddy can cheer you on.

Have fun! Try different activities to find the ones you really enjoy.

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