According to a survey by Gallup and Healthways, Americans exercise more in spring and summer and less in fall and winter. This means, our bodies are not exactly in the same shape they were in at the peak of summer, so it’s probably not a good idea to treat your body to a
10-mile run after it’s been hibernating for 5 months. The good news is you will definitely get back to that 5 miles, but you’ll have to do it slowly to prevent injuries. This brings us to our first exercise safety tip after emerging from hibernation.
1. Walk, Don’t Run
According to the health professionals at WebMD, after a long winter of inactivity you’ll have to ease into your new (or old) exercise routine. And by slow, they mean checking in with your doctor first, then starting with an easy walking regimen and stretching routine. Try 10 minutes a day (or every other day) for a week, then 15 minutes a day (or every other day) the next week. Warm up for 5 or 10 minutes, then stretch using proper form (don’t bounce), cool down, then stretch again at the end of your workout. Gradually work your way back up to 40 minutes or what you used to do.
Although this is slower than most people want to go, Dr. Brian Crites, MD and head team doctor for more than 650 varsity athletes at the University of Maryland says “after about a month of conditioning, you’ll have built up enough flexibility and endurance to move forward with a more strenuous exercise program,” and one that will stick.
2. Revamp Your Exercise Wardrobe
If last spring’s workout wardrobe is looking a little worn, it’s time to invest in some new gear. Look for lightweight, breathable fabrics that move with you. If you exercise outdoors, pick up a few waterproof pieces as well. As for kicks, you’ll definitely have to invest in a new pair not just for comfort, but to protect your limbs and joints from injury. New kicks are also a great motivator. Be sure to get the right type of shoes and gear designed for the exercise you plan on doing, and don’t forget to replace that water bottle!
3. Drink More Water
Speaking of water, chances are, you didn’t drink as much water last winter as you did during spring and summer. If not, no worries. You can start replenishing those fluids and building your stores by working your way back up to 60 ounces or more a day. Try drinking several 8 oz. glasses a day, and work your way up to seven or eight over the course of a few weeks. If you are exercising (even a little bit), this will be a very easy thing to do.
4. Be Careful in Hot Temps!
According to Harvard Medical School, you should keep your pace slow when the temperature rises above 70°F. On days when the thermometer is expected to reach 80°F, exercise during cooler morning or evening hours or at an air-conditioned gym. This is a good rule of thumb whether you’ve been exercising all winter long or not.
Not too sure how much exercise to get this spring? Visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at CDC.gov for the latest guidelines.