^pBy Gregory N. Whyte
Cultural Center of Charlotte County’s Fitness Center
Of all the components essential to fitness and good health, physical activity appears to be the most significant. Through regular exercise, many of the illnesses threatening good health and longevity could be avoided. According to the CDC, “Active people generally live longer and are at less risk for serious health problems like heart disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity and some cancers.” In addition, “For people with chronic diseases, physical activity can help manage these conditions and complications.”
Exercise must be approached correctly if its benefits are to be realized.
Jumping into an exercise program without first considering your readiness may not be a wise thing to do. There are quite a number of conditions that can be made worse when certain types of exercises are attempted. What follows are exercise safety tips and techniques that should prove helpful:
• As a general rule, if you suffer from any pulmonary, cardiovascular or metabolic disease such as diabetes or diseases of the thyroid, liver or kidneys, you should have a health screening prior to participating in any type of strenuous exercise. The health screening will normally include your health history, an exercise readiness questionnaire, a physical examination and laboratory tests.
• As you embark on your exercise journey, it is important that you begin each exercise session a warm up activity. You should end your session with a brief cool down period. Do not attempt to force progress. Exercise regularly and progress slowly. Avoid running on hard surfaces, especially if you are wearing inadequate footwear.
• You should also avoid exercising when the sun is at its strongest. Planning your exercise program for the early morning hours (between the hours of 6 a.m. and 9 a.m.) or late afternoon (from 4 p.m. or 5 p.m.) will help you avoid the negative effects of the sun’s intense heat.
•If you must exercise out in the sun, exercise slowly or decrease the duration of your exercise session; exercise in shaded areas; clothing should be loose, white or bright in color (no black or dark colors) and porous enough to allow evaporation to take place; drink fluids (especially water) before, during and after your exercise session.
• If you sweat a lot during exercise, the electrolytes that are lost should be replaced. A little salt added to your diet, plus the daily consumption of a banana, orange or other citrus fruits should take care of the problem. You should consult with your physician or health advisor before adding sodium (salt) to your diet.
• Wear proper clothing, especially footwear. And before buying any shoes, make sure they fit your feet comfortably.
• Finally, exercise should be discontinued when any of the following warning signs are present: pain or pressure (tightness) in the chest, dizziness or lightheadedness, abnormal heart beats, extreme breathlessness, nausea or vomiting.
For fitness information and services, contact the Cultural Center of Charlotte County’s Fitness Center, 2280 Aaron St., Port Charlotte, at 941-625-4175, Ext. 263.