Stay Fit Safely

Follow these safety tips for your next run, walk or gym session.

Athletes don’t head onto the field or court without first fueling their body, dressing appropriately and warming up their muscles. Although you may not be as athletic as you were when you were younger, you can follow the advice of seasoned athletes: Good safety habits help prevent injury. Even if your daily workout is a simple walk around the block, remember these practices for a safer workout.

Before You Work Out

  • Consult your physician. Some exercise routines work well for others but may not be suitable for you. Talk to your physician before starting a new exercise regime, especially if you have not exercised lately or have ongoing health problems.
  • Dress for success. Choose shoes that are supportive and have nonskid soles. Dress in breathable clothing that allows sweat to evaporate. Wear bright-colored clothing with reflective material if you are walking outdoors near traffic.
  • Phone a friend. If you can’t bring along a friend on a trek outdoors, make sure to let someone know where you went and when you will return.
  • Warm-up and stretch. Always warm up for at least five to 10 minutes before any activity. Older adults should devote extra time to warm up to prevent injury. An easy way to warm up is to do your chosen activity but at a slower pace.

During the Workout

  • Know how to use your gym’s fitness equipment. Incorrect use of equipment can cause serious injury. Always have an employee show you how to use a machine you are unfamiliar with.
  • Look for trip hazards. Watch for potholes, uneven surfaces, dropped items and anything that could cause a serious fall.
  • Skip the earbuds. Music can drown out bike bells, traffic noise and warnings from other people. Stay alert and skip the tunes. Or, if you need to listen to some form of entertainment, take one earbud out and keep the volume low.

After the Workout

Don’t skip cool-down and stretch. Stopping too quickly after exercise could make you sick. Instead, gradually reduce your activity level intensity at the end of a session. Then follow with a light stretching routine to prevent muscle cramping.

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