• 3 Simple Rules to Get Fit and Avoid Injury This Spring

      The warmth of spring is upon us, and once again it’s time to start gearing up for a refreshing change to the winter routines that have kept us cooped up with muscles creaking. But even if you managed to remain active through trips to the gym, the prospect of getting outside and in the sun offers a range of new exercises that require preparation and training. You may ask, “if I have maintained my exercises, why would I need any extra preparation?” The answer is that it’s specifically at the start of these new exercises that your body is most prone to injury.

      Just think about the varied terrain and urban obstacles of jogging outdoors versus the treadmill’s regularity; now apply that same comparison to every gym exercise and the variables of its outdoor equivalent, from biking in the park to soccer on the grass.

      The following are three important steps you should take to ensure that getting back into shape leaves you free from injury while offering the most beneficial takeaway of getting back into shape for spring.

      1. To start, take a moment to set a goal. Setting a goal helps propel yourself towards a specific aim, a simple enough idea which cannot be understated in its power to focus yourself on a reasonable achievement.
      2. Renew one of your new year’s resolutions or challenge yourself to meet or beat a pace that you haven’t quite kept up with over the past few years.
      3. More importantly, set up a log book to keep track of your times and achievements. Having a physical record of where you started with a means to your ends is paramount to meeting your goal.

      Speaking of physical reminders, the change in season is the perfect opportunity to change your sneakers! Most dedicated running stores offer in-depth analyses of your feet and gait to make sure that you get the proper equipment. Think about marking your shoes with the date of purchase so you can keep tabs on when you got them so that you don’t keep using them after their time is up.

      You should also set up an appointment with your physician to go over all the requisites, making sure to get the OK for the goals you’ve set for yourself before the start of new routines.

      Again, the simple act of updating your equipment and evaluating your physiology are powerful motivators for getting back in shape and keeping you injury free.

      Finally, it is important that you start out easy. In the early stages of getting back into shape, you want to feel energized rather than worn out. Too many people start a new exercise and quickly become demotivated by the stiffness and pain associated with Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS), a condition in which the damage done to your muscles is felt 24 to 72 hours after the exercise. Your body will be adapting to new stresses, and the healing of microscopic tears to your muscles, ligaments and tendons should be treated with proper rest and gradual escalation of your activities. It can take anywhere from six to twelve weeks for adaptation to your new exercises, a period of time in which your mitochondrial aerobic engine will ramp up in reaction to your body’s new routine, a change which takes time but allows for an overall increase in the effectiveness and well-being provided by your activities.

      Following these recommendations for getting back into shape or transitioning from the gym to outdoors will allow for a safe and satisfying spring filled with new challenges. Prevention is key to keeping you healthy and happy while enjoying the new season, and that’s definitely worth following such simple advice.