Cardiovascular Exercise Safety

Exercise Safety

According to the Surgeon General, physical activity does not have to be strenuous in order to achieve health benefits. Cardiovascular exercise helps to maintain healthy bones, muscles, and joints and can aid in controlling your weight, developing lean muscle, and reducing body fat. Before starting a cardiovascular exercise program you should consult with your physician, especially if you suffer from a chronic health condition. If you exercise with a trainer, make sure that they are aware of any health problems. There are several other precautions that everyone should follow and they are listed below.


Taking things slowly is the best way to avoid injuries. Be sure to warm up and cool down with proper breathing and stretching techniques. If you haven’t been leading an active lifestyle, give your body time to adjust before pushing yourself too hard. Select exercises or sports carefully, be aware of the dangers of overtraining, and always give your body enough time to recover in between. Exercising with someone else can also reduce the risk of being injured.

Eating Meals

Eating a healthy diet along with exercising is very important. You should eat enough before you exercise to fuel your body and wait anywhere from sixty to ninety minutes after a meal before you begin. Giving your body enough time to digest food can make a big difference in your level of endurance.

Weather Conditions

The weather can play a role in when you exercise and how much time you’ll spend doing it. Dehydration is one of the biggest risks you take when exercising in hot or cold weather. Make sure that you dress appropriately to avoid overheating, hypothermia or frostbite. Do not exercise in excessive conditions, it only increases your risk of being injured or worse. Keep yourself hydrated by drinking fluids before, during and after workouts and exercise. Give your body time to adjust to the weather for a few weeks and alter your intensity based on the weather conditions.

Air Quality

Sometimes the air indoors can be worse than it is outdoors. Invest in a quality air purifier – not an ozone producing one – if you exercise at home and if you go to a gym make sure that there is proper ventilation. Check and clean your home’s air filter often. Low quality of air can have major adverse effects on the benefits of exercise by irritating the respiratory system and reducing oxygen flow. Avoid exposing yourself to pollutants in high traffic areas or areas with high ozone levels.

last update: February 2009

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