- START SLOW: This is especially important if you’ve spent more time cuddled up inside this winter than you have being active. You can’t expect to pop up and immediately be able to do the same workout that you could do last fall if you haven’t kept it up over the last few months. Start your exercise routine slowly and gradually increase the length and intensity of your workout. This will reduce the likelihood of injury and other issues.
- STRETCH & WARM UP: Stretching and warming up are important parts of any workout. Stretching improves your range of motion and increases blood flow to your muscles, increasing your performance and decreasing your risk of injury. It’s important that you take at least ten minutes to stretch your entire body before exercising and that you do so again after you’ve worked out. Some studies show that there are greater benefits to “dynamic stretching” before you exercise and static stretching afterwards. Dynamic stretching involves moving your muscles and joints through a full range of motion while you stretch rather than holding one position (as you would in a static stretch). This is meant to mimic the movements that you would do while exercising. It’s also important to warm up your body before you exercise. Cold muscles are more likely to be injured. While warmer weather is here, there are still bound to be some cold days, especially if you exercise early in the morning. That’s why a warm up is especially important right now. Your warm up should be at least 15 minutes long. The goal is to get your heart rate up and warm up your muscles. Leg kicks, jumping jacks, arm circles and lunges are all good examples of warm up exercises.
- LISTEN TO YOUR BODY: You’ve probably heard that saying “no pain, no gain” but that isn’t always the smartest motto to follow. Pushing yourself too far or continuing to go on in the wrong situation can lead to serious injury. Go at a pace that feels comfortable for you, especially when you’re first starting out. Sharp pain or severe pain (especially pain that persists for more than a few minutes) likely means that you should stop, take a break and re-evaluate before continuing. If you feel dizzy, lightheaded or weak, it’s also a good idea to stop.
- KEEP A SCHEDULE & WORKOUT JOURNAL: If you haven’t exercised in a while, you might find it tough to motivate yourself. You can hold yourself accountable by making a schedule for your weekly workouts in advance. This will give you something to stick to and motivate you to keep going. It’s also a good idea to keep a workout journal. Every day, write down what exercises you did. Not only will this help inspire you, but it can also help you track your progress and make it easier for you to recognize improvement.
Posted by Dr. Scott Wilson | 04-03-2016
The warm weather is finally here and it looks like it’s time to say goodbye to snow, ice and sub-zero temperatures for at least a little while. If you’ve spent your winter hibernating indoors away from the cold, you may have skipped a few workouts. The good news is that, now that the weather has improved, it’s a great time to get up and get out there! Spring is the perfect time to exercise, because you can go outside and enjoy the weather while also getting in shape! Here are some tips for getting back into exercise safely this spring: