Warm weather is just around the corner and is inspiring many of us to get back in shape or at least get more done outside. As we all know, exercise is good for your body and mind. No one, except a select few, enjoys putting on five layers of clothing to go for a job or driving 25 minutes to the gym for an hour workout. Spring weather makes it more pleasant for people to restart their exercise plans and to increase physical activity.
Nevertheless, it is crucial to use common sense when rebooting your warm-weather activity. Statistics inform us that more than half the people who begin a new exercise program do not continue past six months. Pacing yourself at first can help to prevent this trend.
DON’T OVERDO IT!
Also, restarting activity after a long period of rest can cause several avoidable injuries if the person takes certain precautions. For example, don’t start out by running a marathon. Ease into a new running schedule by beginning with short runs and lengthening the distance each time you run.
Remember the following guidelines about exercise in this new warm weather:
* Always warm up first before exercise and stretch/breathe afterwards. The prep period is much more critical if it’s been a while. Your body needs to get used to increased activity before you introduce higher stress. This is the case for exercise as well as any outdoor chores or sports. Do jumping jacks or other light exercise to raise heart rate and increase circulation going before you start your routine. Stretch afterwards during a “cool down” period to allow your body easy back into a rest state.
* Start gradually, and don’t overdo or stretch for hard goals or work too long. For any activity, a few days of walking will prep your body for most activity. If running, pick easier courses to start out with and work into hard ones. Outside work should begin with easier tasks. Don’t jump into the hardest tasks first.
* Hydrate!!! Drink plenty of water throughout work or exercise, especially as humidity and temperature rise. The technical amount of water you need depends variably on weight and work/exercise length, but it is very difficult to drink too much water. As you start more vigorous activity such as running or gym activities, replenish your electrolytes with an occasional sports drink, especially if you sweated heavily.
* Get a buddy. Often injuries occur in yardwork or exercise while people are alone and they tend to injure themselves more while seeking medical attention. A partner can keep you regulated, remind you of water needs, and is psychologically proven to keep you motivated. They are often more aware of your limitations and can keep you from overdoing it. Pain and stress are much more visible to them than to you sometimes.
* Dress properly. The weather is indeed warmer but that doesn’t mean you need sandals or Chaco’s. Each year, an unbelievable number of injuries are caused by simple, avoidable issuses such as running while wearing improper shoes. Many back and knee issues occur from overdoing it right after a long period of inactivity. Gardening can be a lot more dangerous than it looks.
* If injured, remember R.I.C.E. This stand for Rest, Ice, Compress, and Elevate. Avoid movements that use the injured area for a couple of days. By no means are you bed-ridden, but don’t revert back to the same activities that caused it in the first place.
Before starting your routine again, consider coming in for a FREE consultation.
We are more than happy to give you individualized tips on specific activities to keep you healthy and injury free!