How to exercise safely

Supposedly, feeling the burn means you’re working your muscles. But maybe you’re overdoing it. Here are six tips to keep your workout from hurting you (in a bad way).
You want to feel the burn after a workout. You do NOT want to go to the hospital. When working out, it’s important to push yourself but also to stay safe. Below are a few tips on how you can exercise safely so you get fit, not broken.
1. Consult your doctor
If you're new to exercising, it’s always important to consult a doctor before starting a workout regime. The warning is on every treadmill, so why not follow it?

It’s important to have a physical assessment, especially if you're recovering from an injury or have a chronic illness. Almost everyone can benefit from walking, but if you plan to add more cardio or strength-training to your regime, consult your doctor. Let them know if you have had any shortness of breath, dizziness or chest pains.
2. Get the right equipment
One of the best things you can do for your body (besides exercising) is to have good workout shoes. There is a difference between shoes for running and shoes for aerobics. Replace the shoes every six months as the cushioning that protects your feet wears out quickly through impact.

For women, it’s also important to invest in a good sports bra. Your chest needs to be secure or you can develop back and neck strain. A poorly fitted bra can also chafe and reduce your performance ability.
3. Set reasonable goals
If you try to go straight from the couch to running a 5K marathon, you are going to hurt yourself, get discouraged and head straight back to the couch.

Create a manageable workout schedule and stick to it. As you get stronger, add more time, reps or distance at a manageable pace.
4. Warm up/cool down
Always do a 10-minute warm-up and a 10-minute cool-down. Jumping into vigorous activity is a surefire way to injure yourself. Be sure to stretch at the end of your workout, focusing on the specific muscle group that you worked.
5. Drink water
This one is easy. Drink water. Lots of it. Sports drinks with electrolytes are great for keeping you from becoming dehydrated but can also contain a lot of sugar.
6. Ease into strength training
If you plan to do strength training (which you should—it’s part of a complete workout) but are inexperienced, try doing the exercises with very light weights for the first week until you master the form. As you get stronger, increase the weights or the repetitions. Be careful not to sacrifice form for finishing a rep.

How to exercise safely
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