Remember to warm up and cool down to reduce your risk of injury.
Your warm-up (five–10 minutes) should gradually warm your muscles and body temperature. The type of activity done in the warm-up should include major muscle groups that will be used in your activity. Your warm-up could begin with a low intensity activity such as brisk walking or jogging.
It is also important to cool down to reduce muscle soreness and stiffness and gradually return your heart rate and body temperature to normal. In the last five minutes of your activity, slow down gradually to a light jog or brisk walk. Finish off with five–10 minutes of stretching.
Other safety considerations
- Drink water during and after physical activity to avoid dehydration.
- Use appropriate safety and protection equipment to maximise safety and minimise risk of injury during physical activity, for example, use supportive footwear for walking, and a helmet for bicycle riding.
- If dizziness, palpitations or chest pain occurs during physical activity, the activity should be ceased and advice sought from a doctor. No component of physical activity should cause severe or uncomfortable pain.
- Choose well fitted shoes with appropriate shock absorption. See a podiatrist if you have, or develop, any foot problems.
- Choose to be active during the cooler times of the day and avoid being active outside between 10am and 3pm, especially in summer.
- Wear light-coloured clothing when being active during twilight to ensure other walkers, drivers and cyclists can see you clearly.
- When bush walking, take items such as insect repellent, bandages, an instant icepack and saline solution. First aid courses can help build your confidence when faced with emergencies.
- Take a mobile phone or know locations of the nearest phone boxes in case of emergency.
- Ensure that you walk your dog on a leash.
Most adults do not need to visit their doctor before commencing moderate physical activity. However, if you have a chronic health condition, such as heart disease or diabetes, it is advisable that you consult your doctor before starting your physical activity program to discuss the types of activities that best suit your needs.
If during an activity, you feel any discomfort, have chest pain, are more breathless than you should be or your heart beat becomes rapid or irregular, stop immediately and seek medical advice.