For some of us it sure doesn’t seem much like spring yet. Cold temperatures and even snow in some states is putting a damper on the season.
But trust me spring really has arrived. The promise of warmer weather and longer days is right around the corner. Which means it’s time to think about getting OFF the couch.
After all, moving just feels good after you’ve been cooped up inside all winter long. And few thing are as invigorating as a swift stroll in the sunshine when you’ve spent a few too many hours on the sofa.
So go ahead and shake off the blanket you’ve been hiding under all winter. And let’s ease you back into an exercise routine.
Spring exercise tips to keep your workout safe
But careful, you don’t want to jump in too fast and overdo it. Make sure your first outdoor workout of the season doesn’t put you back on the couch with an injury.
These six stay safe tips will help you ease back into spring exercise this year.
1. Invest in your feet:
The odds are good that it’s time for you to invest in a new pair of workout shoes. Good shoes do more than just cushion your feet. They help with posture, joint pain, and balance, as well.
Like having good tires on your car is important, having good shoes on your feet is important, too. And you don’t have to spend a ton of money, either. Just make sure they’re supportive and fit well.
For the best results look for walking shoes. They’re typically designed to be both lightweight and supportive. And many contain special features to keep your feet comfortable for longer walks.
When trying on shoes be sure to wear the socks you’ll be wearing when you walk. And try to shop later in the day when your feet are at their largest.
2. Be patient:
Even if you stayed active during the winter, don’t forget that different workouts mean using different muscles. A walk on cement sidewalks, for example, is very different from a stretching session with your resistance bands.
Be patient with your body. Don’t expect to be able to walk as far or swim as long as you did when the weather drove you inside. Start slow and work your way up to a longer distance, and you’ll be far less likely to be sidelined with an injury. There’s no rush.
3. Break it up:
Your goal may be to get 30-minutes of exercise most days of the week. But experts say you get the same benefits from two 15-minute workouts as you do from exercising for the 30 minutes straight. And when you’re just getting back into a regular spring exercise routine, it’s the perfect compromise.
Injuries happen when you push yourself too far too fast. So break up your routine instead and you’ll get all the payoffs without the risks.
4. Turn on the heat:
Warming up before exercise is important. But doing it the right way is even more important.
Most folks want to start with stretching. But cold muscles don’t stretch easily. So before you stretch, push a pedal or take off at top speed, start with a moderate stroll.
Give your muscles some time to heat up. Around three to five minutes should do it. Then it’s time to do a little stretching. When you warm up your muscles, you’re less likely to end up with strains, pains or injuries.
5. Keep it cool:
Your cool down is important too. When your walk, ride, class or swim is over, don’t just stop cold turkey. Repeat your warm up routine instead. That’s three to five minutes of walking at a moderate pace, followed by a few stretches.
A proper cool down today will keep your muscles from feeling stiff and sore tomorrow.
6. Spring smartly:
If you’ve spent all winter hibernating, it’s a good idea to get your doctor’s thumbs up BEFORE you spring back into exercise.
And then once you do start working out again, for the first week or two schedule in a rest day after each session. This will give your body time to adapt to your new routine.
If you want to keep moving on those “down” days, you can always switch things up and work on balance, flexibility or light strength training.
Follow these six stay safe tips and ease into spring exercise the right way this year.