Make sure your exercise is safe and start slowly

CONGRATULATIONS. You've decided it's time to get serious about exercising - no more couch potato.

But whatever you do, don't rush into a new regime full of enthusiasm.

You'll most likely end up injuring muscles that haven't worked in a long time and the result will be an even greater reluctance to exercise.

Start slowly and allow your body time to warm up. Increase your activity level gradually over weeks, not days. Do some stretching exercises after your activity to help avoid muscle soreness and injury. Wear loose clothes and supportive shoes.

This will make your activity safer and more enjoyable.

Remember to drink lots of water before, during and after your activity - don't wait until you're thirsty.

The old saying, 'no pain, no gain' is not true.

If you feel any pain, slow down or stop.

If you have stopped physical activity or are starting a new physical activity, start at a level that you can manage easily and gradually build up.

If you stopped exercising because of a new health problem, you may need to discuss starting again with your doctor or a health professional.

With this attitude to exercise, you'll quickly find yourself fitter and happier.

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