Fitness Dos and Don’ts

Don’t injury yourself. You’ve heard the phrase, “no pain, no gain.” Exercise should not cause pain. Pain is an indication that you might be injured. Muscle soreness following exercise is not unusual, but stop exercising if you experience sharp, burning or stabbing pain in the muscle. See a doctor if pain does not stop when you stop exercising, or if there is any swelling or discoloration.

Do warm up before exercise and cool down after exercise. It’s important to warm up so that  your muscles are ready for more strenuous exercise and to help you avoid injury. Cool down after exercise to allow your muscles time to recover.

Do devise a balanced exercise program. Include exercise from all three categories: aerobic-cardiovascular, strength training and flexibility exercise. Walking, running and swimming are examples of aerobic exercise. Strength training includes lifting weights and doing body weight exercises like push-ups. Stretching exercises, such as yoga, help to keep your body flexible.

Do stay active every day. Common tasks including mowing the lawn, taking out the trash, walking to the mailbox and gardening are examples of activities that count.

Do drink plenty of water before, during and after exercise. Our bodies lose water when we sweat. It’s important to replace that water to avoid dehydration. Drink 24 ounces of water before exercise and about 8 ounces of water every 10 minutes during exercise. Drink another 24 ounces of water after exercise.

Do eat plenty of fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Use alcohol and caffeine with moderation. Avoid fatty fried foods. Cut down on soda. Hundreds of empty calories are hidden in the sugars in soda.

Don’t take diet pills except under the supervision of a doctor. Diet pills rarely deliver the results they promise and some can have serious health consequences. You can’t lose weight and get fit by taking a pill. It takes exercise and a healthy diet.

Don’t fall for fad diets. Your body needs a variety of foods from all the food groups for balanced nutrition. Starvation diets or diets that allow you to eat only a limited number of foods can be dangerous to your health.

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