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Some Hints for Improving Aerobic Safety

December 10, 1985|DENISE K. MOSS

Here are hints for improving aerobic safety, based on interviews with various fitness experts:

--Make sure shoes are supportive and not intended for a specific use in another sport. Beware of very soft shoes.

--Beware of poor surfaces: Cement, concrete, too much padding that makes foot unstable.

--Watch for exercises that place undo stress on your back or neck. Don't risk doing them if you're concerned.

--Try to keep your heart rate within your target zone during any aerobic workout. Ask your fitness instructor to help identify yours and keep track of it during class. If your instructor doesn't know what you're talking about, think twice about that instructor.

--Avoid "ballistic" (bouncy) stretches. Warm-up should emphasize the stretch-and-hold. Don't push beyond what's comfortable.

--Keep feet close to the ground during dancing if you suspect you might be risking injury. Remember: Injury is proportionate to how high off the ground you lift your feet.

--Keep joints soft. Don't lock knees or elbows.

--Don't let the pace of the class dictate your pace.

--Try to do exercises with the buttocks pulled under the body and pelvis tilted slightly. This strengthens the support for the lower back. Watch yourself for poor posture.

--Give your body time to recover. Pace your workouts so you don't build soreness on top of soreness.

--A note on shin splints: One of the most common aerobic dance injuries is shin splints. They can be excruciating. According to Dr. Allen Selner, what is happening is a swelling of the muscle in the front of the shin causes the tendon to pull away from the bone. Don't take shin splints lightly. They can lead to stress fractures.

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