Erasmus plus - Stretching and Strengthening at Work interact

Stretching and Strengthening at Work

Exercise safely: tips and advices

Taking part in exercise can have many health benefits. However, to enjoy it safely it’s necessary to adhere to several recommendations. For example, several populations should consult a doctor before beginning a physical activity program. That includes pregnant or nursing women; persons suffering from chronic diseases (e.g. cardiovascular diseases, lung and kidney diseases, diabetes, arthritis, osteoporosis) or cancer; persons who experience pain or discomfort in the chest, neck, jaw or arms during physical activity; a person with dizziness, fainting or shortness of breath during mild effort or at rest; people who have problems with joints, muscles, and/or bones that worsen when exercising. Prior to engaging in intense physical activity, consultation with a doctor are recommended for people aged over 35 years, as for people who have a family history of heart diseases, also for active smokers and those who have stopped smoking in the last 6 months, physically inactive adults, people who are overweight and obese, or those who have high blood pressure or raised cholesterol. The risk of injury during exercise depends more on the type and intensity of the activity, than the total amount of activity (e.g. duration of exercise). Walking and activities of moderate intensity are generally safe, whereas running and competitive activities (e.g. tennis, football) are associated with a higher risk of injury. In the case of an acute infection (e.g., inflammation of the ear, throat or sinuses; herpes, diarrhea), physical activity is not recommended . Pregnant women should not take part in activities at high risk of falling or hitting the abdomen (e.g. horse riding, basketball, skiing, skating, martial arts), while high altitude activities and competitive activities require special caution. Warm up is required before engaging in any physical activity, particularly for intense activities. Warm up typically consists of slower-paced aerobic activities (e.g. light walking, slow running) and calisthenics (e.g. arm swings, lunges) to prepare the large joints and muscle groups for the main exercise. Warm up lasts ~ 5 to 10 minutes, with the duration depends on the intensity of the main exercise; higher intensity requires longer warm up. After the main activity is over, it is recommended that the body cools down . Cool down typically takes low-intensity running followed by stretching exercises. Ensure sufficient fluid intake (water is probably the best choice) during physical activity; exercise in warm conditions enhances sweating and loss of fluid and electrolytes, requiring more fluid intake. A dry mouth and thirst are the main signals of dehydration (loss water and electrolytes in the body) that requires fluid replenishment. Use the necessary protective equipment during physical activity: elbow and knee pads, special hiking shoes, hat or cap for sun protection, swimming goggles if you have sensitive eyes, etc. Activities in extreme weather conditions (e.g. high environmental temperature with high humidity; low temperature followed by strong wind and precipitation etc.) require adequate clothing, careful monitoring of exercise load and additional protection (e.g. high-protection cream factor when exposed to strong sun; hat and gloves when very cold, etc.). A list of tips for safe physical activities has been presented in Figure 23 .

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