Just 30 minutes of moderate-intensity activity five days a week cuts your
overall risk of mortality by 55 percent.
1. Start slow. The biggest danger of going gung-ho on fitness might not
be physical but psychological. If you take on too much, too fast, you’ll burn
out. Integrate exercise in a way that makes sense for your schedule and
2. Pace yourself. Jumping into vigorous exercise without warming up is
also dangerous. Allow several minutes at the beginning of each session to
warm up—walk before you run, or do leg bends and arm circles. Get your
blood pumping a little, which reduces stress on the heart and your chances
of pulling a muscle.
3. Cool it. Don’t forget to leave time to cool down afterward. Stretching
is effective. Although there’s scant scientific evidence that doing it actually
reduces your risk of injury, fitness buffs say it staves off soreness. In any
case, it improves flexibility and range of motion—big pluses, especially the
older you are.