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I’ll be the first to admit that I never really thought about exercising safely. I figured if I was getting in some movement, that was better than nothing. And while that is probably true, if you are ready to take your workout up a notch to build muscle or lose weight (or both), you should think about these exercise safety tips to avoid injury.

Talk To Your Doctor First

Talk to your doctor if you have any injuries or a chronic or unstable health condition, such as heart disease or risk factors for heart disease. According to Harvard Health from Harvard Medical School, you should also consult your doctor if you suspect you may have an illness that would interfere with an exercise program or if you have been experiencing any troublesome symptoms, such as chest pain, shortness of breath, or dizziness.

Warm Up and Cool Down

Take 5 to 10 minutes to warm up and cool down properly. I never used to think this was a big deal and would just jump right into exercising, but I can certainly attest that I feel much better after a workout if I’ve taken the time to warm up and cool down.

Start Slow

Unless you are already vigorously exercising, take it easy and ease into a higher activity level. Start with a few days a week and work your way up to those daily exercises. If you focus on the little goals, like working out for three days instead of two this week, you are setting yourself up for success!

Training too hard or too often can cause overuse issues like stress fractures, stiff or sore joints (been there done that), and inflamed tendons and ligaments. If you are doing the same type of activity or exercise over and over, you can also stress certain areas of the body. Mixing up your activities and making sure to get rest is a safer way to go.

Drink Water

If you are working out especially hard or training for a marathon, you should not only drink lots of water but also choose drinks that replace essential electrolytes.

Use Good Form

I know my form is terrible when it comes to things like yoga or certain strength training exercises. This is where a personal trainer can really come in handy. Find Your Trainer (FYT) offers personal trainers that can give expert guidance and support for your personalized fitness goals, on your schedule, while in the privacy of your home. Personally, I feel much better working with someone when I don’t have to think about everyone else watching me!