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Playing it safe
Starting a physical activity program
Adopting an active lifestyle is smart. But so is playing it safe. Start slow if you have not been physically active for a long time (see Types of physical activity). And talk to your doctor before you begin any physical activity if you:
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You can also take these steps to prevent injury:
- Use safety equipment. For example, wear a helmet for bike riding or supportive shoes for walking or jogging.
- Start every workout with a warm-up. Spend 5 to 10 minutes doing some easy stretches and movement, progressing to a brisk walk. Do the same thing when you're done working out until your heart rate returns to normal.
- Drink plenty of fluids when you are physically active, even if you are not thirsty.
- Always bend forward from the hips, not the waist. If you keep your back straight, you're probably bending the right way. If your back "humps," that's probably wrong.
- Stop being active if you feel very out of breath, dizzy, nauseous, or have pain. If your chest feels tight or painful, or you feel faint or have trouble breathing, stop the activity right away and talk to your doctor.
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More information on Playing it safe
Read more from womenshealth.gov
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2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans - This publication is the government’s official guide for Americans to use to get healthy. It discusses the recommended amount of physical activity that adults and children should do weekly and how this will benefit their health.
Be Active Your Way: A Guide for Adults - This physical activity guidebook helps you get moving, commit to physical activity, and make it a lifelong habit.
Exercise & Physical Activity: Your Everyday Guide From the National Institute on Aging - This illustrated booklet can help older adults get physically active. The booklet explains how physical activity can benefit older adults, provides sample activities to get people started, tips to stay motivated, and ways to measure progress.
Exercise for Your Bone Health - This publication explains the importance of exercise for preventing and treating bone loss.
The Exercise Habit (Copyright © American Academy of Family Physicians) - This publication provides information on how you can start an exercise program and how to make it a habit. It also provides information about the different types of exercise and the benefits of physical activity.
Girlfriends' Health and Safety Tips - You and your girlfriends can help each other keep both mentally and physically fit. This fact sheet has information about how you can support and inform the women that are close to you.
Healthy Eating and Physical Activity Across Your Lifespan: Young at Heart: Tips for Older Adults - This booklet gives tips for older adults on eating healthy, getting active, and losing weight.
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Content last updated June 17, 2008.
Resources last updated June 17, 2008.
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