How to “Spring” into Fitness

by Melissa | March 20th, 2008 | Mind & Body

The cold, wet, fluffy, white stuff that has been a part of my landscape for the past five months is finally melting! It’s time to get outside and stretch the muscles that have been cooped up all winter. (Okay, I’ll admit, I’m a wimp when it comes to exercising in the freezing cold!) It’s easy to want just to jump into those fun outdoor activities we’ve been waiting all winter for. Be careful though—accidents or illnesses can happen without proper precautions.

* Warm Up: Before you embark on any exercise, make sure you warm up properly. Warming up improves blood flow to your muscles and increases their flexibility. It also helps your body ease into exercising by slowly increasing your heart rate. Take a slow walk around the block and do some stretches to warm up those muscles.

* Dress in Layers: When dressing for activities, remember to dress in layers. The spring season brings unpredictable weather. A day that starts out on the cool side can warm up quickly. Wearing a short-sleeved t-shirt underneath a jacket works well. You can try a wicking material such as CoolMax to keep you warm in the winter and cool and dry in the summer.  (While it’s not a layer, don’t forget to wear proper shoes with sufficient support.)

* Keep Hydrated: If your workout will last under sixty minutes, water will be sufficient to keep you hydrated. For longer workouts, a sports drink containing carbohydrates and electrolytes will be beneficial in keeping your body properly hydrated.

* Cool Down: Don’t forget to cool down. It’s important to bring your heart rate back down to normal. You can walk or bike at a relaxed pace until you are able to talk comfortably. Do some stretches to prevent your muscles from tightening up.

Don’t forget to have fun! It’s easier to keep up a fitness routine that’s enjoyable.

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All health and fitness information is provided for educational purposes. Please consult with your physician before beginning any exercise regimen.