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Exercise Safety

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Aug 31, 2022.

What is exercise safety?

Exercise safety includes using correct equipment and positions to work the muscles without causing more injury. You will need to know which exercises to do and how often to do them. You will also need to know what to do if you feel pain or think an exercise caused injury.

What do I need to know before I exercise?

  • Exercise helps lower pain and swelling after an injury or surgery. Exercise also helps strengthen the muscles that support your joints and bones. This may help prevent another injury.
  • Talk to your healthcare provider before you start to exercise. You may need to wait until your swelling and pain have gone down. Your provider may refer you to a physical therapist to help with the exercises.
  • You may need a light weight or an exercise band for some exercises. Your provider or physical therapist will tell you how much weight to use.
  • Your provider or physical therapist will tell you how often to do each exercise. He or she will also tell you how many times to repeat each exercise and how many sets you should do. You may be told to do different exercises on different days.
  • Warm up and cool down when you exercise. Walk or ride a stationary bike for 5 to 10 minutes to help you warm up. Stretch to help increase range of motion, relieve muscle soreness, and prevent another injury. Your provider or physical therapist will show you which stretches to do. After you exercise, walk for a few minutes to relax your muscles and slow your heart rate. You may also need to stretch as part of your cool down routine.
    Warm up and Cool Down

What can I do to exercise safely?

  • Move slowly and smoothly. Avoid fast or jerky motions. This will help prevent another injury.
  • Breathe normally. Do not hold your breath. It is important to breathe in and out so you do not tense up during exercise. Tension could prevent you from moving your joint in a full range of motion.
  • Stop if you feel sharp pain or an increase in pain. Stop the exercise and contact your healthcare provider if you have these symptoms. It is normal to feel some discomfort during exercise, but you should not feel pain. Regular exercise will help decrease your discomfort over time.

When should I call my doctor or physical therapist?

  • You have sharp pain during exercise or at rest.
  • You have questions or concerns about your stretches or exercises.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.