Preparing to Exercise

Back Injury Prevention Does your Child’s Backpack Make
the Grade?
The Secret of Good Posture Exercises
to Prevent
ACL Injuries
to Exercise
For the Young at Heart-Exercise Tips for Seniors

Preparing to Exercise

Before you begin a rigorous exercise routine it is important to remember several things.  Doing these things can help make your exercise routine safer, more effective and enjoyable.First, check with your health professional for approval to do the exercises you intend to perform. This may entail a physical exam to make sure it is safe to do the routine and to make sure the exercises you are going to do are not going to cause any problems with any pre-existing conditions such as heart problems, diabetes, or other conditions that may affect your health.

Next, establish goals for your program. This will help to keep you motivated as well as help you decide just what you want to gain from your program. Your goals may be general, such as strengthening, toning, or improving cardiovascular endurance. Or your goals may be more specific to what parts of your body you want to work on, such as upper body, abdominal strength and so on. You can even be more specific to include how much weight you eventually want to lift, or how many sets you want to work up to, or how much endurance you want to gain.

Another thing to establish is a specific and regular time to exercise. This can help you to keep your routine more consistent and more of a habit. Plus it ensures that you will not be interrupted by other things in your daily life activity. You may also find that you like to exercise at a certain time of day.

Wear comfortable clothing that doesn’t interfere with your exercise equipment. Wear clothes that allow you to absorb perspiration and provide for good airflow to prevent overheating. Wear proper athletic shoes for foot protection in case a weight is dropped by accident.

Warm up prior to starting your full program. A warm-up prepares your body by increasing blood flow, loosening up the muscles and increasing heart rate. It can also help reduce injury. This may be a short walk or jog, or some mild bicycling. Simple range-of-motion exercises are also very good. These are things like shoulder circles, neck rotations, trunk rotations and leg circles. You should warm up each part of your body that you intend to work out. A warm-up should last about 4-5 minutes. Another part of warm-up is to start out with lighter weights and gradually work up to the full routine.

Keep a workout log. This will help you determine when you have reached goals. Record sets, reps, weights, treadmill speeds and things of this nature. You may also want to keep measurements of your arms or waist as well as your weight.

After your exercise routine, go through a cool down. This can incorporate the same things as your warm-up routine. Simple active movements help your body to return to its resting state. Gentle stretching is also a good thing to do because it keeps you limber and may help ease any delayed onset muscle soreness that may occur.

For more information and details, consult your physical therapist.

Why is it important that I choose an independent physical therapy (PT) clinic? Find out here »