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Tips for exercising safely

As a health coach the overall goal is to get clients moving in a way they enjoy, within their capability and in a way that does not aggravate any injuries or conditions they may have.

There may be medical conditions that need to be taken into consideration and the steps you can take to ensure your client is safe to exercise.

Physical activity does have some risks

While physical activity has many health benefits, it is also important to remember that there are some risks associated with physical activity. These include an increased risk of injury as well as increased risk of cardiovascular complications such as a heart attack (ACSM, 2018).

Risk of Injury

Clients put themselves at risk of injury when they increase the exercise intensity, don’t give themselves time to recover, ignore their body’s signals of fatigue, discomfort and pain and continue to exercise -which can cause more damage to soft muscle tissue and delay healing.

Injuries can also be caused by using the incorrect exercise technique, not having the right equipment or footwear, exercising in hot weather which puts additional strain on your body, or exercising In cold weather, when muscles are more susceptible to injuries.

Note:if your client does have a recent or pre-existing injury they should get advice from an exercise specialist about what exercises are best for them before commencing exercise.

You can help your client to reduce their risk of exercise injury by ensuring they are aware of:

- wearing the right shoes

- using the correct equipment

- drinking lots of water

- warming up and stretching properly

Risk of cardiovascular complications

Cardiovascular complications are much less common and are usually associated with exercising at a high intensity or vigorous exercise. Note: clients should never exercise if they have chest pain, shortness of breath, or dizziness.

Ensuring your client is safe to exercise

If you have a client who is sedentary and is beginning to exercise or is getting back into exercise after a long break suggest they visit their doctor or exercise specialist before starting exercise

There is also an adult pre-exercise screening tool which can be used to help you quickly identify anyone ‘at risk’ who should be referred to a health professional before starting any exercise.

Individuals that :

  • have medical conditions and may be at a higher risk of experiencing a health problem during physical activity

  • have warning signs of risks from exercise

  • Have injuries that get worse when they exercise

Great resources:

'10 tips to exercise safely’

Adult Pre-Exercise Screen

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