How can I exercise safely?

Pay Attention to Your Body

You need to listen to what your body is telling you.

How your body's signals help you stick with exercise. If you feel pain, you need to respond to it. If you don't, you could end up not being able to exercise for a while, or you could cause more serious problems.

If you've been inactive for some time, you may feel somewhat stiff the day after a workout. A little bit of stiffness is normal. You can help prevent this by warming up, stretching, and cooling down. Gentle stretching and over-the-counter pain relievers, such as acetaminophen, will usually take care of it. Talk to your doctor before starting your exercise program and see what pain reliever he or she would recommend before you begin taking any.

You shouldn't have pain or marked soreness after exercising. If you do, you may have pushed yourself too hard. Take it a little easier next time; then increase your workout as you are able.

How to listen to your body. Stop your workout and call for medical help immediately if you develop any of these symptoms while you are exercising:

  • chest pain or pressure
  • pain that radiates down your left arm, shoulders, back, or jaw
  • abnormal heart activity, such as fluttering, jumping, palpitations, sudden rapid heartbeat, or sudden slowing of a rapid heartbeat
  • breathlessness
  • dizziness
  • nausea
  • cold sweat
  • pale skin
  • fainting
  • sudden lack of coordination

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