Wear the Right Shoes: You’ll need to invest in a good pair of lightweight running shoes for walking (the strength workout you should do barefoot). They’re well cushioned and designed to handle the heel-to-toe movements for both walking and running. Best option: Go to a specialty running store, where the underpaid salespeople are the experts; ask the pro there to analyze your stride and match up the best shoe for your feet.
Listen to Your Body: Throughout stretching, make sure to keep breathing freely and slowly. If you ever feel pain during stretching, stop. (That’s different from a little discomfort as you’re loosening up; actual pain should be your warning to stop. We want burning in the muscles.)
Focus on Your Muscles: Take special notice of where you tense up. You want to release tension in your body, not shift it somewhere else. Most commonly, people shift it to their shoulders and their foreheads. Notice this, breathe, and focus on the muscles you are working.
Before beginning an exercise program, you need more than a Lycra top. Exercise isn’t dangerous, but your risk of injury will be less if you live with a few principles to protect your muscles and your entire body. Warm up: Before beginning any exercise, warm up your muscles for about five minutes to prevent injury. Remember, your muscles are like spaghetti strands; they’re pliable when they’re warm, and more injury-prone if they’re not. Jogging, brisk walking, cycling, or doing exercises with light weight or no weight will help prepare your muscles for activity. One good rule: Do the same exercise you will be doing but at a slower pace or with lighter weight. Your goal is to move your joints through the same range of motion as they will do with exercise – to raise your heart rate and to increase the temperature of your muscles, which will make them more viscous and less likely to be injured. Some say that at the end of the exercise, you should cool down with a light jog, cycle, or walk but there’s no evidence that a cool down will reduce injury or muscle soreness more than just stretching at the end. But if you are doing intense cardio exercise, you do need to do a cool down, rather than stopping abruptly at the end of the workout. For a cool down, do the same activity like running, at a much slower pace than you were maintaining during your workout.
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