Physical activity essentials examined for the new year

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You are ready to start the year out right!  If you have decided to start being more physically active, but it has been awhile, here is a reminder of a few essentials that you will need:

•Talk to your healthcare provider – Before you start any physical activity, especially if you have not been that active recently, you should talk to your healthcare provider.  It is important to discuss what you are going to do and how often you plan to be active.

•Proper shoes – Having an appropriate shoe for being active is critical.  When shoes do not fit properly, then there is a higher likelihood of injury.  When shoes do not fit there can be an increased chance of blisters, ankle injury and even knee injury.  If you are going to be active on a regular basis, finding proper fitting shoes is a must.

•Proper clothing – Although you can do some physical activities in jeans and a t-shirt, wearing clothes that are meant to be worn when you are sweating can be useful and certainly more comfortable.  There are a lot of options when you are looking for clothes to wear when you are being active and many places where you can purchase them.   Having a few pairs of pants and shirts will get you started.  Perhaps as you reach your goals, you can reward yourself with a few more items.

•Water – If you are active for 30 minutes or longer, you will need water during your activity.  Make sure you keep drinking during your activity.  Dehydration can cause decreased blood pressure, dizziness or even fainting. 

•Sun protection – If you will be active outside, wearing sunscreen even in the winter months is important.  Sun burns can happen even when it is almost 0 degrees outside.    Using a stick formula is usually best for the face so the sunscreen does not drip into your eyes when you start to sweat.

•Start slowly – If you have not been active, pushing yourself too hard, too fast can cause an injury.  

By remembering these essentials, you will have an easier time sticking with your plan and continue being active throughout 2012!

Reference:  Luff, C., 7 Running Essentials.  About.com, Running and Jogging. Aug 2011.

Source:  Nicole Peritore, HEEL Program Coordinator, University of Kentucky College of Agriculture

Educational programs of the Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service serve all people regardless of race, color, age, sex, religion, disability, or national origin.

Jane Proctor is Trimble County’s Cooperative Extension agent for family and consumer services.