EXERCISING? - Get off to a smart start

Check with the experts. Talk to your doctor and to the professionals at the health and wellness center to get off to a safe, smart start.

Start slowly. You have to gradually build up to the desired intensity level, or risk injury.

Drink plenty of fluids. Dehydration is a real health and safety risk.
Do a proper warm-up before exercising. This gradually warms the muscles, including the heart, so they can safely respond to the demands of the physical activity.

Stretch. Stretching is important but should be done after the warm-up to prevent injury.

Cool down. This brings the body back to normal by using slow and gradual movements to prevent pooling of blood.

Train regularly. If you train too little or too much, your risk of injury goes up. Three to five times a week is needed for maintenance.

Train with a partner. The buddy system not only provides motivation, but it also provides a safety net should you need a spotter while lifting weights or succumb to heat stress on a run.

-- President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports