NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH
National Heart, Lung, and Blood
Modified by FAQS.ORG
Do we get enough
from our daily activities?
Most Americans get little vigorous exercise at work or during leisure
hours. Today, only a few jobs require vigorous physical activity. People
usually ride in cars or buses and watch TV during their free time rather
than be physically active. Activities like golfing and bowling provide
people with some benefit. But they do not provide the same benefits as
regular, more vigorous exercise.
Evidence suggests that even low- to moderate-intensity activities can
have both short- and long-term benefits. If done daily, they help lower
your risk of heart disease. Such activities include pleasure walking,
stair climbing, gardening, yardwork, moderate to heavy housework, dancing
and home exercise. More vigorous exercise can help improve fitness of the
heart and lungs, which can provide even more consistent benefits for
lowering heart disease risk.
Today, many people are rediscovering the benefits of regular, vigorous
exercise - activities like swimming, brisk walking, running, or jumping
rope. These kinds of activities are sometimes called "aerobic" - meaning
the body uses oxygen to produce the energy needed for the activity.
Aerobic exercises can condition your heart and lungs if performed at the
proper intensity for at least 30 minutes, 3-4 times a week.
But you don't have to train like a marathon runner to become more
physically fit! Any activity that gets you moving around, even it it's
done for just a few minutes each day, is better than none at all. For
inactive people, the trick is to get started. One great way is to take a
walk for 10-15 minutes during your lunch break. Other ideas in this
pamphlet will help you get moving and living a more active life.
What are the
benefits of regular physical activity?
These are the benefits often experienced by people who get regular
Regular physical activity -
- gives you more energy
- helps in coping with stress
- improves your self-image
- increases resistance to fatigue
- helps counter anxiety and depression
- helps you to relax and feel less tense
- improves the ability to fall asleep quickly and sleep well
- provides an easy way to share an activity with friends or family and
an opportunity to meet new friends
Regular physical activity
- tones your muscles
- burns off calories to help lose extra pounds or helps you stay at
your desirable weight
- helps control your appetite
You need to burn off 3,500 calories more than you take in to lose 1
pound. If you want to lose weight, regular physical activity can help you
in either of two ways.
First, you can eat your usual amount of calories, but be more active.
For example: A 200-pound person who keeps on eating the same amount of
calories, but decides to walk briskly each day for 1 1/2 miles will lose
about 14 pounds in 1 year. Or second, you can eat fewer calories and be
more active. This is an even better way to lose weight.
About three-fourths of the energy you burn every day comes from what
your body uses for its basic needs, such as sleeping, breathing, digesting
food and reclining. A person burns up only a small amount of calories with
daily activities such as sitting. Any physical activity in addition to
what you normally do will burn up extra calories.
The average calories spent per hour by a 150-pound person are listed
below. (A lighter person burns fewer calories; a heavier person burns
more.) Since exact calorie figures are not available for most activities,
the figures below are averaged from several sources and show the relative
vigor of the activities.
|Bicycling 6 mph
|Bicycling 12 mph
|Jogging 5 1/2mph
|Jogging 7 mph
|Running in place
|Running 10 mph
|Walking 2 mph
|Walking 3 mph
|Walking 41/2 mph
The calories spent in a particular activity vary in proportion to one's
body weight. For example, a 1 00-pound person burns 1/3 fewer calories, so
you would multiply the number of calories by 0.7. For a 200-pound person,
multiply by 1.3.
Working harder or faster for a given activity will only slightly
increase the calories spent. A better way to burn up more calories is to
increase the time spent on your activity.
Regular physical activity -
- helps you to be more productive at work
- increases your capacity for physical work
- builds stamina for other physical activities
- increases muscle strength
- helps your heart and lungs work more efficiently
Consider the benefits of a well-conditioned heart:
In 1 minute with 45 to 50 beats, the heart of a well-conditioned person
pumps the same amount of blood as an inactive person's heart pumps in 70
to 75 beats. Compared to the well-conditioned heart, the average heart
pumps up to 36,000 more times per day, 13 million more times per year.
Feeling, looking, and working better - all these benefits from regular
physical activity can help you enjoy your life more fully.
benefits and the risks
Should you begin a regular exercise program? Consider the ways physical
activity can benefit you and weigh them against the possible risks.
- more energy and capacity for work and leisure activities
- greater resistance to stress, anxiety and fatigue, and a better
outlook on life
- increased stamina, strength and flexibility
- improved efficiency of the heart and lungs
- loss of extra pounds or body fat
- help in staying at desirable weight
- reduced risk of heart attack
- muscle or joint injuries
- heat exhaustion or heat stroke on hot days (rare) aggravation of
existing or hidden heart problems
Should I consult a
I start an exercise program?
Most people do not need to see a doctor before they start since a
gradual, sensible exercise program will have minimal health risks.
However, some people should seek medical advice.
Use the following checklist to find out if you should consult a doctor
before you start or significantly increase your physical activity.*
Mark those items that apply to you:
If you've checked one or more items, see your doctor before you start.
If you've checked no items, you can start on a gradual, sensible program
of increased activity tailored to your needs. If you feel any of the
physical symptoms listed above when you start your exercise program,
contact your doctor right away.
*This checklist has been developed from
several sources, particularly the Physical Activity Readiness
Questionnaire, British Columbia Ministry of Health, Department of National
Health and Welfare, Canada (revised 1992).
What if I've had a
Regular, brisk physical activity can help reduce your risk of having
another heart attack. People who include regular physical activity in
their lives after a heart attack improve their chances of survival.
Regular exercise can also improve the quality of your life - how you feel
and look. It can help you do more than before without pain (angina) or
shortness of breath.
|If you've had a heart attack, consult
your doctor to be sure you are following a safe and effective
exercise program. Your doctor's guidance Is very Important because
It could help prevent heart pain and for further damage from
Five common myths about
Myth 1. Exercising makes you tired.
As they become more physically fit, most people feel physical activity
gives them even more energy than before. Regular, moderate-to-brisk
exercise can also help you reduce fatigue and manage stress.
Myth 2. Exercising takes too much time.
It only takes a few minutes a day to become more physically active. To
condition your heart and lungs, regular exercise does not have to take
more than about 30 to 60 minutes, three or four times a week. If you don't
have 30 minutes in your schedule for an exercise break, try to find two
15-minute periods or even three 10-minute periods. Once you discover how
much you enjoy these exercise breaks, you may want to make them a habit!
Then physical activity becomes a natural part of your life.
Myth 3. All exercises give you the same benefits.
All physical activities can give you enjoyment. Low-intensity
activities - if performed daily - also can have some long-term health
benefits and lower your risk of heart disease. But only regular, brisk and
sustained exercises such as brisk walking, jogging or swimming improve the
efficiency of your heart and lungs and burn off substantial extra
calories. Other activities may give you other benefits such as increased
flexibility or muscle strength, depending on the type of activity.
Myth 4. The older you are, the less exercise you need.
We tend to become less active with age, and therefore need to make sure
we are getting enough physical activity. In general, middle-aged and older
people benefit from regular physical activity just as young people do. Age
need not be a limitation. In fact, regular physical activity in older
persons increases their capacity to perform activities of daily living.
What is important, no matter what your age, is tailoring the activity
program to your own fitness level.
Myth 5. You have to be athletic to exercise.
Most physical activities do not require any special athletic skills. In
fact, many people who found school sports difficult have discovered that
these other activities are easy to do and enjoy. A perfect example is
walking - an activity that requires no special talent, athletic ability or
How do different
activities help my heart and lungs?
Some types of activity will improve the condition of your heart and
lungs if they are brisk, sustained and regular. Low-intensity
activities do not condition the heart and lungs much. But they can have
other long-term health benefits.
The columns below describe three types of activities and how they
affect your heart.
Column A - These vigorous exercises are especially helpful when
done regularly. To condition your heart and lungs, the AHA recommends that
you do them for at least 30 minutes, three or four times a week, at more
than 50 percent of your exercise capacity. (See target heart rate
zones.) Other health experts suggest a shorter period for
higher-intensity activities. These exercises can also burn up more
calories than those that are not so vigorous.
Column B - These activities are moderately vigorous but still
excellent choices. When done briskly for 30 minutes or longer, three or
four times a week, they can also condition your heart and lungs.
Column C - These activities are not vigorous or sustained. They
still have benefits - they can be enjoyable, improve coordination and
muscle tone, relieve tension, and also help burn up some calories.
These and other low-intensity activities - like gardening, yard- work,
housework, dancing and home exercise - can help lower your risk of heart
disease if done daily.
heart and lungs
||Golf (on foot or by
|Running in Place
The key to
How do I begin?
The key to a successful program is choosing an activity (or activities)
that you will enjoy. Even moderate levels of activity have important
health benefits. Here are some questions that can help you choose the
right kind of activity for you:
1. How physically fit are you?
If you've been inactive for a while, you may want to start with walking
or swimming at a comfortable pace. Beginning with less strenuous
activities will allow you to become more fit without straining your body.
Once you are in better shape, you can gradually change to a more vigorous
activity if you wish.
2. How old are you?
If you are over 40 and have not been active, avoid very strenuous
programs such as jogging when you're first starting out. For the first few
months, build up the length and intensity of your activity gradually.
Walking and swimming are especially good forms of exercise for all ages.
3. What benefits do you want from
If you want the benefits of exercise that condition your heart and
lungs, check the activities in columns A and B.
These activities - as well as those listed in column C - also
give you other benefits as described in this booklet.
4. Do you like to exercise alone or with
Do you like individual activities such as swimming, team sports such as
soccer, or two-person activities such as racquetball? How about an
aerobics class or ballroom dancing? Companionship can help you get started
and keep going. If you would like to exercise with someone else, can you
find a partner easily and quickly? If not, choose another activity until
you can find a partner.
5. Do you prefer to exercise outdoors or in
Outdoor activities offer variety in scenery and weather. Indoor
activities offer shelter from the weather and can offer the convenience of
exercising at home as with stationary cycling. Some activities such as
bench stepping, running in place or jumping rope can be done indoors or
outdoors. If your activity can be seriously affected by weather, consider
choosing a second, alternate activity. Then you can switch activities and
still stay on your regular schedule.
6. How much money are you willing to spend
for sports equipment or facilities?
Many activities require little or no equipment. For example, brisk
walking only requires a comfortable pair of walking shoes. Also, many
communities offer free or inexpensive recreation facilities and physical
7. When can you best fit the activity into
Do you feel more like being active in the morning, afternoon, or
evening? Consider moving other activities around. Schedule your activity
as a regular part of your routine. Remember that exercise sessions are
spread out over the week and needn't take more than about 10 to 15 minutes
at a time.
By choosing activities you like, you will be more likely to keep doing
them regularly and enjoying the many benefits of physical activity.
How do I pace
Build up slowly If you've been inactive for a long while, remember it
will take time to get into shape. Start with low- to moderate-level
activities for at least several minutes each day. See the sample walking
program, for example. You can slowly increase your time or pace as you
become more fit. And you will feel more fit after a few weeks than when
you first started.
How hard should I exercise?
It's important to exercise at a comfortable pace. For example, when
jogging or walking briskly you should be able to keep up a conversation
comfortably. If you do not feel normal again within 10 minutes of stopping
exercise, you are pushing yourself too much.
Also, if you have difficulty breathing, experience faintness or
prolonged weakness during or after exercising, you are exercising too
hard. Simply cut back.
If your goal is to improve the fitness of your heart and lungs, you can
find out how hard to exercise by keeping track of your heart rate. Your
maximum heart rate is the fastest your heart can beat. Exercise above 75
percent of your maximum heart rate may be too strenuous unless you are in
excellent physical condition. Exercise below 50 percent gives your heart
and lungs little conditioning.
Therefore, the best activity level is 50 to 75 percent of this maximum
rate. This 50-75 percent range is called your target heart rate zone.
When you begin your exercise program, aim for the lower part of your
target zone (50 percent) during the first few months. As you get into
better shape, gradually build up to the higher part of your target zone
(75 percent). After 6 months or more of regular exercise, you can exercise
at up to 85 percent of your maximum heart rate - if you wish. However, you
do not have to exercise that hard to stay in good condition.
To find your target zone, look for the age category closest to your age
in the table below and read the line across. For example, if you are 30,
your target zone is 95 to 142 beats per minute. If you are 43, the closest
age on the chart is 45; the target zone is 88 to 131 beats per minute.
||100-150 beats per
||98-146 beats per
||95-142 beats per
||93-138 beats per
||90-135 beats per
||88-131 beats per
||85-127 beats per
||83-123 beats per
||80-120 beats per
||78-116 beats per
||75-113 beats per
Your maximum heart rate is approximately 220 minus your age. However,
the above figures are averages and should be used as general guidelines.
Note: A few high blood pressure medicines lower the maximum
heart rate and thus the target zone rate. If you are taking high blood
pressure medications, call your physician to find out if your exercise
program needs to be adjusted.
To see if you are within your target heart rate zone, take your
pulse immediately after you stop exercising.
- When you stop exercising, quickly place the tips of your first two
fingers lightly over one of the blood vessels on your neck (carotid
arteries) located to the left or right of your Adam's apple. Another
convenient pulse spot is the inside of your wrist just below the base of
- Count your pulse for 10 seconds and multiply by six.
- If your pulse falls within your target zone, you're doing fine. If
it is below your target zone, exercise a little harder next time. And if
you're above your target zone, exercise a little easier. Don't try to
exercise at your maximum heart rate - that's working too hard.
- Once you're exercising within your target zone, you should check
your pulse at least once each week during the first 3 months and
periodically after that.
A special tip:
Some people find that exercising within their target zone seems too
strenuous. If you start out lower, that's okay, too. You will find that
with time you'll become more comfortable exercising and can increase to
your target zone at your own rate.
How long should I exercise?
That depends on your age, your level of physical fitness, and the level
of intensity of your exercise. If you are inactive now, you might begin
slowly with a 10-15 minute walk or other short session, three times a
week. As you become more fit, you can do longer sessions or short sessions
If you're active already and your goal is to condition your heart and
lungs, try for a minimum of 30 minutes at your target heart rate zone.
Each exercise session should include:
Warm up 5 minutes
Begin exercising slowly to give your body a chance to limber up and get
ready for more vigorous exercise. Start at a medium pace and gradually
increase it by the end of the 5-minute warm-up period.
Note: With especially vigorous activities such as jumping rope,
jogging or stationary cycling, warm up for 5-10 minutes by jumping rope or
jogging slowly, warming up to your target zone. It is often a good idea to
do stretching exercises after your warm-up period and after your exercise
period. Many of these stretching exercises can be found in books on sports
medicine and running. Below are three stretches you can use in your
warm-up period and after your cook down period. Each of these exercises
help stretch different parts of your body. Do stretching exercises slowly
and steadily, and don't bounce when you stretch.
Wall push: Stand about 1 1/2 feet away from the wall. Then lean
forward pushing against the wall, keeping heels flat. Count to 10 (or 20
for a longer stretch), then rest. Repeat one to two times. Palm touch:
Stand with your knees slightly bent. Then bend from the waist and try to
touch your palms to the floor. Count to 10 or 20, then rest. Repeat one to
two times. If you have lower back problems, do this exercise with your
Toe touch: Place your right leg level on a stair, chair, or
other object. With your other leg slightly bent, lean forward and slowly
try to touch your right toe with right hand. Hold and count to 10 or 20,
then repeat with left hand. Do not bounce. Then switch legs and repeat
with each hand. Repeat entire exercise one to two times.
Exercising within your target zone 30-60
Build up your exercising time gradually over the weeks ahead until you
reach your goal of 30-60 minutes. Once you get in shape, your exercising
will last from 30 to 60 minutes depending on the type of exercise you are
doing and how briskly you do it. For example - for a given amount of time,
jogging requires more energy than a brisk walk. Jogging will thus take
less time than walking to achieve the same conditioning effect. For two
examples of how to build up to the goal of 30-60 minutes, see "Two Sample Exercise
Cool down 5 minutes
After exercising within your target zone, slow down gradually. For
example, swim more slowly or change to a more leisurely stroke. You can
also cool down by changing to a less vigorous exercise, such as changing
from running to walking. This allows your body to relax gradually. Abrupt
stopping can cause dizziness. If you have been running, walking briskly,
or jumping rope, repeat your stretching and limbering exercises to loosen
up your muscles.
How often should I exercise?
If you are exercising in your target zone, exercise at least three or
four times per week (every other day). If you are starting with less
intense exercise, you should try to do at least something every day.
Exercising regularly is one of the most important aspects of your
exercise program. If you don't exercise at least three times a week, you
won't experience as many of the benefits of regular physical activity as
you could or make as much progress. Try to spread your exercise sessions
throughout the week to maximize the benefits. An every-other-day schedule
is recommended and may work well for you.
What if I miss a few sessions?
Whenever you miss a few sessions (more than a week), you may need to
resume exercising at a lower level than before. If you miss a few sessions
because of a temporary, minor illness such as a cold, wait until you feel
normal before you resume exercising.
If you have a minor injury, wait until the pain disappears. When you
resume exercising, start at one-half to two-thirds your normal level,
depending on the number of days you missed and how you feel while
Whatever the reasons for missing sessions, don't worry about the missed
days. Just get back into your routine and think about the progress you
will be making toward your exercise goal.
Is there a top limit to exercising?
That depends on the benefits you are seeking.
Anything beyond 60 minutes daily of a vigorous or moderately vigorous
activity, such as those in columns A and B,
will result in little added conditioning of your heart and lungs. And it
may increase your risk of injury.
If you want to lose extra pounds or control your present weight, there
is no upper limit in that the longer you exercise, the more calories you
burn off. But remember that the most effective weight loss program
includes cuffing down on calories in addition to exercise.
Remember: How you exercise is just as important as the kind of activity
you do. Your activity should be brisk, sustained and regular - but you can
do it in gradual steps. Common sense and your body will tell you when you
are exercising too long or too hard. Don't push yourself to the point
where exercise stops being enjoyable.
How do I keep
Here are some tips to help you stay physically active:
- Set your sights on short-term as well as long-term goals. For
example, if your long-term goal is to walk 1 mile, then your short- term
goal can be to walk the first quarter mile. Or if your long-term goal is
to lose 10 pounds, then focus on the immediate goal of losing the first
two or three pounds. With short-term goals you will be less likely to
push yourself too hard or too long. Also, think back to where you
started. When you compare it to where you are now, you will see the
progress you've made.
- Discuss your program and goals with your family or friends. Their
encouragement and understanding are important sources of support that
can help you keep going. Your friends and family might even join in.
- If you're having trouble sticking to your regular activity program,
use the questions on pages 20 and 21 to think through the kinds of
things that can affect your exercise enjoyment.
- What were your original reasons for starting an activity program? Do
these reasons still apply or are others more important? If you are
feeling bored or aren't enjoying a particular activity, consider trying
By continuing to be active regularly, you'll be building a good health
habit with benefits you can enjoy throughout your life.
How can I become more
active throughout my day?
To become more physically active throughout your day, take advantage of
any opportunity to get up and move around. Here are some examples:
If you have a family, encourage them to take part in an
exercise program and recreational activities they can either share with
you or do on their own. It is best to build healthy habits when children
are young. When parents are active, children are more likely to be active
and stay active after they become adults.
- Use the stairs - up and down - instead of the elevator. Start with
one flight of stairs and gradually build up to more.
- Park a few blocks from the office or store and walk the rest of the
way. Or if you ride on public transportation, get off a stop or two
before and walk a few blocks.
- Take an activity break - get up and stretch, walk around and give
your muscles and mind a chance to relax.
- Instead of eating that extra snack, take a brisk stroll around the
- Do housework, such as vacuuming, at a more brisk pace.
- Mow your own lawn.
- Carry your own groceries.
- Go dancing instead of seeing a movie.
- Take a walk after dinner instead of watching TV.
Whatever your age, moderate physical activity can become a good health
habit with lifelong benefits.
Are there any risks
Muscles and joints
The most common risk in exercising is injury to the muscles and joints.
This usually happens from exercising too hard or for too long -
particularly if a person has been inactive for some time. However, most of
these injuries can be prevented or easily treated as explained in "Effective ways to avoid
Heat exhaustion and heat stroke
If precautions are not taken during hot, humid days, heat exhaustion or
heat stroke can occur - although they are fairly rare. Heat stroke is the
more serious of the two. Their symptoms are similar:
|body temperature below normal
The last two symptoms of heat stroke are important to know. If the body
temperature becomes dangerously high, it can be a serious problem.
Both heat exhaustion and heat stroke can be avoided if you drink enough
liquids to replace those lost during exercise.
In some cases, people have died while exercising. Most of these deaths
are caused by overexertion in people who already had heart conditions. In
people under age 30, these heart conditions are usually congenital heart
defects (heart defects present at birth). In people over age 40, the heart
condition is usually coronary artery disease (the buildup of deposits of
fats in the heart's blood vessels). Many of these deaths have been
preceded by warning signs such as chest pain, lightheartedness, fainting
and extreme breathlessness. These are symptoms that should not be ignored
and should be brought to the attention of a doctor immediately.
Some of the deaths that occur during exercise are not caused by the
physical effort itself. Death can occur at any time and during any kind of
activity - eating, sleeping, sifting. This does not necessarily mean that
a particular activity caused the death - only that the two events happened
at the same time.
No research studies have shown that physically active people are more
likely to have sudden, fatal heart attacks than inactive people. In fact,
a number of studies have shown a reduced risk of sudden death for people
who are physically active.
Exercising too hard is not beneficial for anyone, however, and is
especially strenuous for out-of-shape, middle-aged and older persons. It
is very important for these people to follow a gradual and sound exercise
If you consider the time your body may have been out of shape, it is
only natural that it will take time to get it back into good condition. A
gradual approach will help you maximize your benefits and minimize your
risks. Effective ways to
The most powerful medicine for injuries is prevention. Here are some
effective ways to avoid injuries:
1. Build up your level of activity
gradually over the weeks to come.
- Try not to set your goals too high - otherwise you will be tempted
to push yourself too far too quickly.
- For activities such as jogging, walking briskly and jumping rope,
limber up gently and slowly before and after exercising.
- For other activities, build up slowly to your target zone, and cool
down slowly afterwards.
2. Listen to your body for early warning
- Exercising too much can cause injuries to joints, feet, ankles and
legs. So don't make the mistake of exercising beyond early warning pains
in these areas or more serious injuries may result. Fortunately, minor
muscle and joint injuries can be readily treated by rest and aspirin.
3. Be aware of possible signs of heart
problems such as:
- Pain or pressure in the left or mid-chest area, left neck, shoulder
or arm during or just after exercising. (Vigorous exercise may cause a
side stitch while exercising - a pain below your bottom ribs - which is
not the result of a heart problem.)
- Sudden lightheartedness, cold sweat, pallor or fainting. Ignoring
these signals and continuing to exercise may lead to serious heart
problems. Should any of these signs occur, stop exercising and call your
4. For outdoor activities, take appropriate
precautions under special weather conditions.
On hot, humid days:
- Exercise during the cooler and/or less humid parts of the day such
as early morning or early evening after the sun has gone down.
- Exercise less than normal for a week until you become adapted to the
- Drink lots of fluids, particularly water - before, during and after
exercising. Usually, you do not need extra salt because you get enough
salt in your diet. (And a well-conditioned body is better able to
conserve salt so that most of the sweat is water.) However, if you
exercise very vigorously for an extended time in the heat (for example,
running a marathon), it's a good idea to increase your salt intake a
- Watch out for signs of heat stroke - feeling dizzy, weak, light-
headed, and/or excessively tired; sweating stops; or body temperature
becomes dangerously high.
- Wear a minimum of light, loose-fitting clothing.
- Avoid rubberized or plastic suits, sweatshirts, and sweat pants.
Such clothing will not actually help you lose weight any faster by
making you sweat more. The weight you lose in fluids by sweating will be
quickly replaced as soon as you begin drinking fluids again. This type
of clothing can also cause dangerously high temperatures, possibly
resulting in heat stroke.
On cold days:
- Wear one layer less of clothing than you would wear if you were
outside but not exercising. It's also better to wear several layers of
clothing rather than one heavy layer. You can alwaysremove a layer if
you get too warm.
- Use old mittens, gloves, or cotton socks to protect your hands.
- Wear a hat, since up to 40 percent of your body's heat is lost
through your neck and head.
On rainy, icy or snowy days:
- Be aware of reduced visibility (for yourself and for drivers) and
reduced traction on pathways.
5. Other handy tips are:
- If you've eaten a meal, avoid strenuous exercise for at least 2
hours. If you exercise vigorously first, wait about 20 minutes before
- Use proper equipment such as goggles to protect your eyes for
handball or racquetball, or good shoes with adequate cushioning in the
soles for running or walking.
- Hard or uneven surfaces such as cement or rough fields are more
likely to cause injuries. Soft, even surfaces such as a level grass
field, a dirt path, or a track for running are better for your feet and
- If you run or jog, land on your heels rather than the balls of your
feet. This will minimize the strain on your feet and lower legs.
- Joggers or walkers should also watch for cars and wear light-
colored clothes with a reflecting band during darkness so that drivers
can see you. Remember, drivers don't see you as well as you see their
cars. Face oncoming traffic and do not assume that drivers will notice
you on the roadway.
- If you bicycle, you can help prevent injuries by always wearing a
helmet and using lights and wheel-mounted reflectors at night. Also,
ride in the direction of traffic and try to avoid busy streets.
- Check your shopping malls. Many malls are open early and late for
people who do not wish to exercise alone in the dark. They also make it
possible to be active in bad weather and to avoid summer heat, winter
cold or allergy seasons.