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Be Safe Before You Exercise
November 2, 2012 - Dr. Greg Walsh
Children seem to have the ability to swim, run and climb for endless hours without tiring or exhibiting any signs of soreness afterward. Unfortunately for adults, our bodies require monitoring to ensure that we avoid putting ourselves at risk for injury before we delve into exercise. If you have an existing medical condition or are unsure if an activity is safe for you, contact your doctor to ask for advice.
This week, I want to focus on walking and running. Whether getting back into an exercise routine or already fully involved, I advise patients to incorporate time into their weekly regimen to work on knee and core strengthening in conjunction with their cardiovascular workouts. This helps limit injuries and maximize effectiveness. In addition to injury prevention, the importance of hydration cannot be overstated. A cool glass of water will lower your heart rate and core temperature. A bottle of sports drink post-workout will replenish important electrolytes that allow your body to recover.
For those who are out for the long haul, especially distance runners, I recommend putting a teaspoon of chia seeds in your water. The seeds break down slowly in your stomach because of the gelatin layer they create around themselves. This allows your body to obtain energy slowly over an extended period of time, reducing recovery time. They can often be found at your local health food store.
Whether walking or running, it is imperative to have a good pair of sneakers, specific for that activity. If you are planning on an extended workout, make sure you wear a pair of shorts that will limit chaffing. Tight fitting, compression short or pants are ideal. Try an easy goal for the first day and see how your body responds twenty-four hours later. If you notice that your legs feel like lead when getting out of bed or walking up the stairs, you need to cut back on the intensity of your workout.
For those of you who have a problem motivating yourself to continue a regimen week after week, sign up for a local race to give yourself a goal to work toward. Keeping a log and tracking your progress can also be extremely helpful in keeping you motivated.
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