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After going through this lesson, you will be able to identify:
Identify guidelines for safe and effective exercise
Identify dietary patterns for optimal physical performance
Now that you have an idea of how much and what kinds of activity you can do to improve your health,
it’s a good idea to consider some key things about safety and nutrition that will help you get the most
out of your exercise. After all, the goal is to improve your health, not hurt yourself!
For example, consider location. You don’t have to go to a gym to get a good workout, but if you
choose to exercise outside, you want to think about your personal safety. Consider going with another
person or at least telling someone where you’re going and about how long you’ll be gone. Wear some
form of identification. Stay in well-lit and populated areas. If you listen to music while you exercise,
make sure you can still hear what’s going on around you. Follow traffic signals and laws to avoid
getting hit by a car. These things might seem like common sense, but you’d be amazed how many
accidents happen because people just aren’t paying attention to their surroundings. We’d all like to
think that, “It won’t happen to me…” but in reality, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Most healthy young adults can start a reasonable exercise program without any major caution, but if
you have any of the following then you should probably check with a doctor before significantly
increasing your level of activity.
You have asthma, diabetes or heart, lung, liver or kidney disease.
You take medication to manage a chronic condition.
You feel pain in your chest, joints or muscles during physical activity.
You experience symptoms such as loss of balance, dizziness or loss of consciousness.
You have an untreated joint or muscle injury, or persistent symptoms after a joint or muscle injury.
You have arthritis or osteoporosis or have had joint replacement surgery.
You've had a heart attack or have a family history of heart disease before age 55.
You’re a smoker or have quit within the past six months.
You're overweight or obese, or
You're unsure of your health status.
This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t exercise if any of the above apply. It just means that you might
have to consider some more specific safety precautions while exercising. Talking with your doctor
ahead of time, and possibly working with a personal trainer at the begging of your program, can help
ensure that you’re doing what’s best for your body without putting yourself at additional risk.