Men on the Move: How to Improve Your Health through Exercise, Safely
June 4, 2018
June is Men’s Health Month, a great time for men to evaluate their current level of wellness and recommit to a healthy lifestyle. Physical activity is one of the best tools you have to improve or maintain good physical and mental health. Regular exercise can help you achieve and maintain a healthy weight; help reduce your risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and some cancers; enhance your bone and muscle strength; and help improve your mood and decrease feelings of stress and anxiety. Of course, this goes for both men and women.
To get the most positive health benefits from regular exercise, it’s important to understand your body’s capabilities, as well as how to safely use any type of exercise equipment, to help prevent injuries.
“Most sports injuries result from a lack of proper instruction and training, as well as any weakness or structural defect that may be present in the body,” says Dr. Benjamin Debelak, orthopedic physician and sports medicine director at Haywood Regional Medical Center. “Whether you’re just jumping into a pick-up game or beginning an exercise routine at the gym, it’s crucial to have a grasp on the proper techniques involved in the specific activity, get trained on any equipment being used, and listen to your body to prevent injuries and ensure that you’re getting the biggest health benefit from your activity.”
These helpful tips can help keep exercise – for men and women – safe, fun and pain-free:
- Call up. Consult your doctor before beginning a new fitness or sports program, and commit to regular annual exams. Based on your current health and medical history, your primary care provider can help you decide on the most effective type and duration of physical activity for you, and help identify any potential problems before they happen.
- Train up. A trainer can help you set fitness goals and offer guidance on how to use the equipment in the gym.
- Warm up. Stretching, walking, jogging or starting at a slow pace helps your body ease into heightened physical activity, and can go a long way in preventing injuries.
- Gear up. If you’re participating in a team sport, ensure your safety and the safety of others by always using the proper protective gear – even when practicing – and having a clear understanding of the rules.
- Fuel up. Build up your energy bank with a healthy snack one or two hours before your workout, and drink at least 16 ounces of water in the couple of hours leading up to your workout. And don’t forget to keep drinking water during your activity to replace any lost fluids.
- Change it up. Combine exercises that target different parts of your body into your routine. It gives your body a fuller workout, eliminates boredom and prevents overstressing any one muscle group.
- Listen up. Pay attention! Your body is talking to you. If you experience sharp pain, weakness or light-headedness, stop. Trying to push through acute pain is a shortcut to serious or chronic injury.
- Rest up. Build rest days into your exercise routines to help ward off injury and fatigue.
While it’s true that there’s risk with any type of physical activity, the benefits to your physical and mental health far outweigh the risk, especially when you take the proper precautions to help ensure that your exercise is effective and safe.
If you do experience injury during physical activity, Haywood Regional can help. Call 800.424.DOCS (3627) to get connected with a provider who can offer help and healing for your injury.