With the new year here, consider a resolution to stay more active and fit in 2013. Whether it’s competitive sports, recreational activity, or regular cardiovascular exercise and weight training, physical activity benefits your mind and body.
Active people typically experience a longer, healthier life, stronger bones, reduced joint and muscle pain, and slower loss of muscle mass. Additionally, activity often equates to improved mobility and balance, which results in a lower risk of falls and serious injuries like hip fractures.
Activity can entail a number of physically strenuous hobbies or interests, from weightlifting, biking, walking, or team sports to gardening or exercising at home. Whatever activity you choose, remaining active will help to reduce aches and pains later in life. If you have a history of activity-related injuries, see an orthopedist before exercising or competing.
The doctors of Sierra Pacific Orthopedics offer some general guidelines for exercising and preventing injuries, including:
- Always wear appropriate safety gear, including apparel, shoes, and helmet
- Warm up and stretch before you exercise
- Exercise for at least 30 minutes a day
- Follow the 10 percent rule: never increase your program (e.g. walking or running distance or amount of weight lifted) by more than 10 percent per week
- Avoid repetition by varying your workouts and intensities
- If using weights or weight equipment, make sure to read the instructions carefully to avoid injury
- Stop exercising if you experience severe pain or swelling; discomfort that persists should always be evaluated by an orthopedist