The scent of spring is in the air, the weather is warming up, and the long winter hours spent indoors are behind us. It’s the perfect time to get outside and start exercising. As you head to the great outdoors or the gym for a workout, here are a few tips to help keep you injury free and ready to get in shape.
Start out slow. It’s great to have workout goals, but you don’t have to meet them the first day you start exercising! Give your body a chance to adjust to your new routine by gradually working up to your goals. Pushing too hard right away will leave you open to more injuries, not to mention causing you quite a few aches and pains.
Warm up and cool down. It’s easy to skimp on the warm up and cool down, but they are key to preventing common injuries, such as muscle tears or strains. Warm up with a light jog and active stretching for 5-10 minutes before doing any static stretching or starting the hard part of your workout.
Wear the proper equipment. Be sure to think about safety whenever you exercise. Your shoes should be sport specific and designated for that activity alone; don’t go for a run wearing the same shoes you have walked around in all day. Wear the proper pads during contact sports, strap on a helmet for biking, and wear reflective gear when on the roadside at night. A little common sense goes a long way!
Remember that age matters. It seems a little unfair, but as we get older, we become more prone to injuries and less able to bounce back after having one. You may find it more difficult to do some of the activities that came naturally a few years ago. Keep this in mind, and modify your exercise to your current ability level.
Stay healthy and hydrated. Eating energy-rich foods and drinking plenty of water will make any workout more of a success. It is much more important to stay hydrated during the day than to chug water in the middle of a workout. Keeping your body properly fueled before exercise will leave you feeling better later.