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Categories > Exercise and Fitness > Exercising safely

No pain, no gain?

You’re busy all week with no time to exercise. Come the weekend, you go all out. By Monday, it feels like you’ll never walk again.

Welcome to the world of a weekend warrior.

While trying to be active is great for your health, it also increases the risk of sports-related injuries. Luckily, you can take steps to avoid the pain and enjoy your activities. Try these tips:

  • Be consistent. Instead of cramming all your activity into two days, try to get at least 30 minutes of moderate activity daily. Break those 30 minutes into 10-minute segments if you can’t find the time to do it all at once. Increase your time slowly.
  • Let it be a lesson to you. If you’re trying a new activity, such as tennis, take lessons with a professional to learn proper form and avoid overuse injuries like tendinitis or stress fractures.
  • Get into gear. Going biking? Make sure to wear a helmet. Trying your hand at in-line skating? Pack a helmet and wrist pads. If you run, make sure you have well-fitting shoes made specifically for running or jogging. You may want to buy arch supports or other inserts to help protect your knees and shins from pain. Replace running shoes when they start to show wear.
  • Warm up, cool down. Cold muscles are more easily injured. Walk for five minutes or do jumping jacks. Don’t forget to stretch muscles, holding the stretches for 30 seconds. After exercising, wind down by continuing your activity at a slower pace for about five minutes to reduce muscle stiffness and soreness.
  • Know your limits. You’re not as flexible now as you were when you were 20, so you need to adjust your activity level to reflect that. Muscle soreness after starting a new routine is normal; pain is not. Take note of what your body is telling you and seek medical help if needed.
  • Seek balance. Your program should incorporate aerobic activity, which is good for your heart; strength training, which helps build muscle and bone; and flexibility exercises such as yoga, which can help prevent falls.