As the weather turns warmer and the days turn longer, it’s a great time to take advantage of the extra day light by enjoying outdoor activities such as walks,runs, hikes, gardening, and recreational sports. While physical activity and fresh air are a great combination, it's important to stay safe while you're being active - especially if you've been hibernating for most of the winter. Many people tend to be more sedentary during winter months, hunkering down inside. If you're not the type to do cold weather workouts or activities, hopefully you've tried to stay active inside at a gym or in your home. Getting back into an outdoor routine safely means progressing slowly. Don't expect to set personal records or perform your best on your first day out, especially if you haven't kept up with your normal routine all winter. And don't panic about the approach of bathing suit season, thinking you need to immediately drop 40 pounds.Understanding and respecting your body is the key to being healthy and active in any season. A fit, active lifestyle requires strength, stamina and flexibility - and a well-balanced workout routine. Use these tips to stay safe this Spring:
Warm up properly: Before any physical activity,a proper warm-up is important to prepare your body. In general, an active warm-up is more beneficial than a passive stretch prior to activity Research has shown dynamic stretching is more effective at improving performance than static stretching.
Mix it up: Do you focus only on one activity, like running?Cardio is great, but strength training is just as important for weight loss,maintaining bone density and building stronger muscles and joints. There’s a well-documented difference between strength, endurance, power and mobility, so try to incorporate each component into your exercise routine. Part of becoming strong and healthy is training your body to handle various loads, distances and stressors under variable conditions.
Increase the length/intensity of your workouts safely: The most effective way to avoid injuries is gradual, progressive exposure to an activity. Instead of jumping headfirst into a new routine, start more gradually over time to ensure your body can appropriately adapt to specific physical and environmental demands.
If you’re ready to kick start your activity level after along hiatus but feel hesitant for any reason, our physical therapists can help too! Our therapists can evaluate your physical readiness using a movement screen and other techniques to determine any sources or causes of dysfunction.They can also expertly identify a small problem that could grow into a bigger one over time. Do yourself and your body a favor before you spring into action!Spring smarter!