CLEVELAND -- It's not uncommon for those Olympic athletes to inspire the rest of us to get moving. But if you're about to start a new workout routine or go back to a familiar sport, experts advise you to start slowly.
Remember, those athletes have been training most of their lives continuously to perfect their performance. Jumping into a program without prepping yourself can set you up for injury. Not only will you be sidelined, but you can also lose your motivation to keep going.
Start by asking your doctor for an exercise prescription and make sure your health is good for the program you choose.
"There are a lot of tools available where they can help you understand where you need your heart rate to be, where your ratings of perceived exertion should be, how much to exercise, how much stretching to incorporate, how much strengthening to incorporate, and how to make this manageable to start with," says Cleveland Clinic Dr. Susan Joy.
"Often times people are doing way too much with way too fast and so I typically tell athletes of all types is to slow things down a bit and allow the body to kind of catch up," says St. Vincent Charity Medical Center podiatric surgeon Michael Canales.
He also says, in case you do get an injury, remember P.R.I.C.E.
"Protection, rest, ice, compression and elevation still hold true." Dr. Canales says.
Make sure you recognize the difference between serious pain and muscle soreness that should go away in a couple of days. If it doesn't, you should rest and consider seeing a doctor.
Always warm up and stretch before and after any exercise activity and make sure to incorporate at least one day of complete rest into any routine.