Saturday, April 21, 2018

Is Your Body Ready for Warmer Weather?

fit man on beach

What It Takes

If your goal is turning heads at the beach, you'll want tips on grooming and choosing flattering trunks, as well as a workout for flat abs and a pumped-up physique. Check in with your doctor if you're not active now and over 45 or have a health condition.
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man demonstrating bench press
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Dumbbell Bench Press

For pecs that beg to go shirtless, start with a bench press. Lie back, with your feet flat on the floor. Hold a dumbbell in each hand at chest level. Push the weights straight up, and slowly lower back down. Start with light weights, doing 16-20 reps until you perfect your form. Go heavier slowly, so you can't do more than 8-12 reps. Aim for three sets, resting 30-90 seconds between sets.
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man demonstrating dumbbell fly
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Dumbbell Fly

Lie on your back with a dumbbell in each hand. Raise the dumbbells above your chest, shoulder-width apart. With your palms facing each other and elbows slightly bent, inhale and lower the dumbbells in an arc to chest level. Exhale and slowly raise the dumbbells to starting position, as if wrapping your arms around a barrel.
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man doing push up
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These will sculpt your shoulders, triceps, and pecs. Start in plank position with your hands under your shoulders and your legs extended behind you. Keeping your body tight and straight, bend your elbows to lower yourself until your chin or chest touches the floor. Straighten your elbows to push back up. Do 2-3 sets of as many reps as you can manage with good form.
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man demonstrating barbell curl
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Barbell Curl

Stand gripping a barbell at thigh level. Your hands should be shoulder-width apart, palms facing forward. Exhale and bend your elbows, raising the bar to shoulder-level. Keep your elbows at your side. Inhale and slowly lower the barbell to starting position. Keep your knees slightly bent, and don't let your back arch.
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man demonstrating dumbbell curl
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Dumbbell Curl

Sit on a bench with your back against a backrest. Keeping your arms at your sides, hold a dumbbell in each hand, palms facing forward. Exhale and slowly curl your arms up until the dumbbells nearly reach the shoulders. Inhale and lower the weights to starting position. If doing more than eight reps, rest for at least 90 seconds between sets.
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man demonstrating tricecp exercise
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Buff arms require working the triceps, too. Give them some definition with barbell extensions. Lie on a bench with a barbell raised directly over your face, elbows straight and palms facing forward. Bend your elbows to lower the barbell down toward your forehead. Keep your elbows in the same place. Exhale and push back up.
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man demonstrating pushdown
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You can do triceps pushdowns with resistance bands or cables. Stand with your hands gripping the bands, palms facing down. Your elbows should be bent so your forearms are parallel with the floor. Keeping your elbows at your side, exhale and press down until your elbows are straight. Inhale and return to the starting position. Don't lock your elbows.
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man demonstrating dumbbell press
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Dumbbell Press

Sometimes called the military press, this move sculpts the deltoid muscles in the shoulder. Sit on a bench with your back against a backrest. Hold your dumbbells at shoulder height and shoulder width, palms facing forward. Exhale and push the dumbbells up until your elbows are fully extended. Inhale as you slowly bring the weights back down.
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man demonstrating calf raises
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Calf Raises

Stand with dumbbells or kettlebells at your sides, feet shoulder-width apart. Raise your heels until your weight is on the balls of your feet. Contract your abs to help keep your balance, and slowly lower back down. Good moves to challenge other leg muscles include squats and leg presses for your quads, as well as leg curls for your hamstrings.
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man demonstrating lat pulldown
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Lat Pulldown

Your lats are broad muscles that run from mid-back to waist. You can do lat pulldowns with resistance bands or cables. With your hands wider than shoulder width, grab the bands or cable bar overhead, keeping your elbows straight. Pull the bar or bands toward your chest, bringing your elbows close to your sides. Slowly extend your elbows to raise back up.
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man demonstrating dumbbell row
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Dumbbell Row

The dumbbell row works your lats as well as the rhomboid muscles in your upper back. Begin with your left hand and knee on a bench and your right foot flat on the floor. Hold a dumbbell in your right hand next to the bench. Bend your elbow and pull the dumbbell toward your waist. Lower slowly it back down.
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man demonstrating bicycle exercise
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Do these instead of crunches. An American Council on Exercise study rated this move as one of the most efficient ways to tone the major ab muscles, including the rectus abdominis and obliques. While lying on your back, pedal your legs as if riding a bike. As you pedal, touch each elbow to the opposite knee. Keep your lower back pressed to the floor.
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man demonstrating cable rotations
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Cable Rotations

For an ab exercise that doesn't involve lying on the floor, try cable rotations. Stand holding a cable close to the upper abdomen. The cable should extend to the side, not directly in front of you. Tighten your abs and slowly turn your torso away from the cable anchor. Hold briefly before returning to starting position. After one set of 8-12 reps, face the opposition direction and repeat.
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man with waxed chest
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Where to Wax

"Manscaping" has taken off in recent years. The most popular targets for manscaping are the back, chest, and pubic area. To avoid prickly stubble, waxing is a better option than shaving for large areas like the chest and back.
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man in swimsuit
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Swimsuit Style: Beyond Elastic

While most swim trunks are made with elastic waistbands, this style can accentuate even a little extra girth around the waist. For a more flattering and stylish option, look for shorts that close with drawstrings, snaps, or buttons.
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man floating on raft in pool
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Swimsuit Style: How Baggy?

Once you've got your fitness program underway, it's time for a little fashion boot camp. Baggy, low-riding board shorts look best on men under 20. If your teenage years are behind you, consider more fitted trunks that sit just above the hips. But avoid going too tight or too high.
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man standing in ocean
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Swimsuit Style: How Long?

Consider your height before picking the length of your trunks. Long trunks look right at home on tall guys, but can overwhelm shorter men. Short trunks, in contrast, can create the illusion of longer legs. Men of short to medium height should opt for short to medium-length trunks.
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man putting sunscreen on arm
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Protect Your Skin

Always wear sunscreen. Look for a broad-spectrum product with an SPF of 30 or greater. None are truly sweatproof or waterproof, but there are water-resistant types. Gels work well for hairy spots like the scalp and chest. Don't forget your ears and lips. And wear a shirt and hat for extra protection.
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mans feet in water
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Spruce Up Your Feet

No beach body is complete without tidy feet. When trimming your toenails, don't round the edges -- that will make them prone to getting ingrown. If you go for a professional pedicure, make sure the salon sterilizes its utensils. Don't let the technician cut your cuticles or remove dead skin with a foot razor. Once your toenails are tamed, you'll be ready for barefoot walks on the beach.
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surfer running into ocean
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Get Moving

To show your developing six-pack, you'll need to burn off belly fat that tends to hide the muscles underneath. You can do moderate-intensity exercise, such as brisk walking, for 30 minutes on most days of the week. Or pump up the intensity to vigorous exercise, like swimming or running, and get the same benefits in half the time.
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avacado and tomato sandwich
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Eat Fruit, Veggies

If you're trying to lose weight, you need to cut calories, but there are some foods you will want to eat more of. Filling up on a salad first at lunch or dinner can help you eat less during the rest of the meal.
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brown rice grains
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Choose Whole Grains

Adults who eat high-fiber whole grains tend to weigh less than those who opt for white, refined grains. Adding more whole grains can be as simple as ordering brown rice instead of white.
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variety of alcohols
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Limit Alcohol

It's not just beer that can pad the belly. Alcohol of all kinds has empty calories that your body may store as fat -- and weakens your ability to resist a plate of super nachos. Drinking heavily, no matter the form of alcohol, is linked to weight gain. Try lower-calorie drinks, slower sipping, or alternating with no-calorie club soda.
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linoleic acid supplement
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Linoleic Acid

Browse the aisle of a health food shop, and you'll see many supplements hinting that they can melt fat. Few have evidence to back the claims. One exception is conjugated linoleic acid (CLA). In a study published in the British Journal of Nutrition, overweight adults who took CLA for 6 months lost more fat in their legs and waists compared to those taking a placebo. Check with your doctor before taking supplements.
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Drop These Cancer-Causing Habits Now

cancer cells

Lower Your Risk of Cancer

It’s the world’s leading cause of death, but about 1 in 3 cases can be prevented, according to the World Health Organization. There’s no magic pill to keep you from getting cancer, but you can do some things to improve your odds.
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Feet on scale
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Drop the Weight

Nearly 70% of Americans are overweight or obese -- and those extra pounds drive up your chances of several types of cancer, including in your esophagus, pancreas, colon, kidneys, and thyroid gland. With fewer people smoking, obesity may pass tobacco as the top preventable cause of cancer. If every adult in the U.S. cut their body mass index (a measure of your body fat) by 1%, it might cut the number of new cases by as many as 100,000.
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medium cooked steak
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Eat Less Red Meat

Along with cured meats like bacon, hot dogs, and lunchmeat, this has been linked to a higher risk of colon and stomach cancers. The American Institute for Cancer Research recommends no more than 18 ounces of these a week, or a little over a pound.
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applying sunscreen
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Wear Sunscreen

Harmful rays from the sun can give you more than a sunburn. Ultraviolet radiation can cause skin cancer, the most common kind of cancer in the U.S. And people who spend a lot of time in the sun have a higher risk. Most cases are curable if they’re found and treated early, but they can be life-threatening if they spread to other parts of your body. Sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or higher can help protect you.
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full shopping cart
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Eat More Vegetables

Vegetables and fruits can help stave off a range of cancers in your mouth, throat, windpipe, and esophagus. These foods have things that help your cells prevent damage that may lead to cancer later. You should get at least 2 1/2 cups of fruits and vegetables a day.
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Don’t Count on Supplements

A diet rich in vegetables, fruits, and whole grains is a better bet than nutritional supplements to lower your risk of cancer. Supplements don’t give you the same benefits as whole foods, and they can throw off the balance of other nutrients in your body. Supplements may help with certain conditions, but don’t bet on them to prevent cancer.
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opening soda can
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Cut Down on Sugar

Foods or drinks with a lot of sugar tend to have more calories per ounce. If you have them often, you’re more likely to take in more calories than you burn in a day. That can make you gain weight -- and possibly increase your risk of cancer. You don’t have to skip the sugar entirely, but keep an eye out for things with added sweeteners.
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vial and syringe
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Get Vaccinated for HPV

Human papilloma virus (HPV) is often passed from person to person through sex. It can live in your body for years and you might not even notice. It’s the cause of nearly all cervical cancers in women and also can cause cancer of the vagina, penis, anus, mouth, and throat. Girls can get the vaccine between the ages of 9 and 26, and boys from 9 to 21. Using condoms can also lower your chances of getting HPV.
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couple walking
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Get off the Couch

People who exercise are less likely to get cancer of the colon, breast, or uterus. When you’re up and moving around, your body uses more energy, digests food faster, and prevents a buildup of some hormones that are linked to cancer. Being active also can help head off other health problems like heart disease or diabetes.
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cigarette butts
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Stub Out That Butt

Do you smoke? It causes various kinds of cancer, as well as heart and lung disease. Though the share of Americans who light up regularly has dropped from more than 40% in the 1960s to about 15%, tobacco is still the No. 1 cause of preventable death in the U.S.
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glass of whiskey
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Ease off the Sauce

You know which one we mean. Drinking too much alcohol can raise your risk of cancers of the digestive system -- your stomach, liver, and colon, among others -- as well as breast and throat cancer. It can hurt tissues in your body, damage your liver, and mix with other chemicals to harm your cells. Men shouldn’t have more than two drinks a day, and women should limit it to one.
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Hepatitis B vaccine
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Get a Hepatitis B Shot

People who have the hepatitis B virus are 100 times more likely to get liver cancer, one of the fastest-growing kinds. And those who have chronic liver problems, several sex partners, or share needles to use drugs have a high risk of getting hepatitis B, along with people who work with human blood. But a vaccine can prevent infection. Talk with your doctor about it if you think you’re at risk.
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doctor and patient
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Get Screened

The sooner the warning signs of cancer are spotted, the better your odds of recovery. A variety of tests can check for different types, like breast, colon, prostate, or skin. Ask your doctor which of these screenings you should get, and when.
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How to Protect Yourself From Workout Injuries

man helping female athlete

Stay on Track

Whether you’re new to exercise or have trained for years, you want to do everything you can to take care of your body. After all, working out is one of the best things you can do for yourself, including your heart, bones, and even your mood. See if you need to make some changes so these common injuries don’t bench you.
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running with shin splints illustration
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Shin Splints

The bone, muscle, and connecting tendons along the inside edge (or sometimes the outside) of your shinbone can get swollen. It may hurt when you run or after you finish and could be tender to the touch. A new workout, especially jogging, can cause it, or it can happen if you suddenly go much faster or farther. You treat it with ice, rest, stretching, and anti-inflammatory drugs. Once you feel better, wait 2 weeks before starting over.
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icing a sprained wrist
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It tears the tissue that connects your bones (ligaments), often when you fall or get hit. The area (usually a knee, ankle, or wrist) may be swollen, bruised, and hard to use. Treat it with RICE for the first 2 days:
  • Rest: Lie down and keep your weight off
  • Ice: 20 minutes at a time
  • Compression: Wrap bandage for support
  • Elevation: Raise the hurt area (above your nose if possible)
Talk to your doctor if it still hurts after 2 weeks.
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man doing squats
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A strain pulls and tears the muscle or the tissue that attaches it to your bone (tendon). It happens when you extend too far, often in your legs or lower back. Treatment is the same as for a sprain: RICE for 48 hours, and special exercises (physical therapy) if it’s still painful after a couple of weeks. For both injuries, it’s best not to work out very hard for about 2 months, to give your body a chance to heal.
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stress fracture in foot
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Stress Fracture

You can make tiny cracks in your bones when you do something over and over, as in running, basketball, or tennis. Where it happens depends on your activity: ribs for golfers, feet for dancers, legs for runners. Pain is often worse when you do the move that caused it. Your doctor will likely say to rest for 6-8 weeks to heal. If you don’t, you might do more damage that’s harder to treat. Supportive braces or shoe inserts also may help.
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broken humerus
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Broken Bone

A fall or hit, as in football or rugby, can cause a larger crack or a complete break. It’s usually swollen, bruised, and hurts a lot. The shape around the break, whether a finger, arm, or leg, may not look right. Your doctor will try to get your bone straight again and then keep it still with a cast so it can heal. You may need surgery if it’s serious.
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tendonitis in elbow
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Repeat a motion enough, and it could weaken or inflame tendons in different parts of your body: tennis elbow, swimmer's shoulder, jumper’s knee. Less often, a sudden tear or strain can do it. The pain is just outside the affected joint, especially when you move. You’ll probably need to treat it with rest and sometimes physical therapy. Medication may ease pain and swelling. A brace or splint helps keep it still.
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ruptured achilles tendon
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Ruptured Achilles

A jump or fall, often during sports, can tear or break (rupture) this thick tendon that connects your calf muscles to your heel. You might hear a sudden pop and feel a sharp pain in the back of your lower leg. Your heel could swell, and it may hurt to stand on your toes. Surgery is a standard treatment, but it’s not clear it works any better than RICE with crutches and a cast, at least for most people.
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dislocated finger
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A sudden blow can separate two bones at the joint, partly or entirely. The shape of the area, often in the hand or shoulder, might change, and the area might become swollen, numb, and painful. Sometimes it damages tendons, ligaments, or nerves. Your doctor may push the bones back into place. After that, rest, ice, and physical therapy can help you heal, along with medication to ease pain and swelling. You may need surgery in rare cases.
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woman massaging sore heel
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Plantar Fasciitis

It’s one of the most common causes of pain on the bottom of the heel. The ligament that connects the front and back of your foot and supports the arch gets swollen and irritated. It can happen if you ramp up your workouts too quickly, are overweight, or have tight calves or high arches. You can usually fix it with RICE and physical therapy, but your doctor may suggest surgery in rare cases.
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runners legs
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Knee Injuries

Knees do constant, heavy, work with lots of moving parts. Repeated motions like running can cause problems (tendinitis, runner’s knee). You also might hurt one suddenly if you twist it, hit it, or land wrong after a jump. Damage to bone, the cartilage that covers it, or one of the four major ligaments in the knee may be serious. Treatment depends on the injury, but RICE is a good place to start.
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group doing jumping jacks
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Prevention: Warm Up

It’s a good idea, whether you’re going to play a hot game of pickup basketball or a quiet round of golf. You loosen up muscles, ligaments, tendons, and joints, and that makes them harder to injure. Walk, run in place, or do some jumping jacks. All it takes is 5-10 minutes, a small price to pay to avoid hurting yourself.
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woman stretching
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Prevention: Stretch

Don’t hold a stretch when you’re warming up. Save that for after your workout. Take it easy, too. Never stretch so much that it hurts, and don’t bounce. Inhale as you go into each one and hold the position for 10-20 seconds. Then exhale as you gently release. Don’t do any stretch more than once.
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man jogging
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Prevention: Start Slow

You may want to jump into your new running shoes and see how fast and far you can go, even if you’ve never run before. That may feel like the right spirit, but it’s the wrong idea. When you start a new activity, give your body time to get used to it. Then, over time, you can add to the speed, distance, weight, or intensity. Listen to your body at each step of the way.
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woman and daughter doing yoga
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Prevention: Cross Train

That’s just a fancy way to say “Mix it up.” You might run, bike, or swim for your heart, lift weights for your muscles, and stretch to stay flexible. Another good move: yoga. It combines strength, flexibility, and balance training, and adds meditation that’s good for mental health. Together, these can help prevent injury and keep you interested in your workout program.
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man fastening womans cycling helmet
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Prevention: Use the Right Gear

The correct equipment might help keep you safe. Wear supportive shoes made for your type of workout, and replace them when they wear out. Strap on a helmet when you bike outside. Light, loose-fitting clothing is best in warm weather, so you can move freely and get rid of body heat. Layers that are easy to take off are better for when it’s cold.
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