Spring has finally sprung! which means warm weather and longer days ahead. For some of you that may mean coming out of hibernation. Perhaps you haven't been as active in the winter months, but now that the weather is above zero you'd like to get back into an exercise routine. As a registered massage therapist I tend to see an increase in injuries in the spring, partly because nicer weather means more outdoor activity therefore more incidents. I also think it has to do with the lack of warm up, preparation and self-care. Here are some tips to help you ease back into an active routine.
Start slow. It's never a good idea to jump into something full force, especially after months of inactivity. increase your routine slowly. Each person will be at a different level. Listen to your body. If you have an event or know when you will be starting a sports league preparing beforehand can greatly help with endurance, strength and preventing injuries.
Stretch! Stretch! Stretch! I know with our busy lives we have to manage our time. For some they feel that it's better to do the exercise itself than all the warm up and cool down at the beginning and end. These two routines are just as important as the exercise. Warm ups can help with increasing blood flow, flexibility and strength. Warm ups will also help prevent injuries while exercising. Take a look at a few dynamic stretching routines to build into your practice. Depending on the activity some may prove more useful. There are some great resources online. After your activity, a cool down routine will help to reduce overall stiffness and soreness, created by lactic acid build up. Cool down will help keep your muscles long and strong versus short and tight. Check out some static stretches and routines with a foam
roller that can help you in your cool down.
Hydration. Staying hydrated is extremely important for proper nerve firing and muscle function. When you are dehydrated your muscles aren't getting the adequate resources like magnesium and electrolytes to function optimally. This can create painful spasms and weakness. If you aren't a fan of water itself coconut water is great for hydrating or just adding fruit to your water can also be satisfying.
Foot Wear. I think we all forget how long we've had a pair of our favourite runners. It's important to have the appropriate support as the feet take the brunt of almost all activities . If your feet aren't cared for this can create problems throughout the entire musculoskeletal system. There are many stores that sell footwear with trained employees who can assess your gait to find the right shoe for you. If you don't want to replace the whole shoe, simply replacing the insoles will have a positive impact and save you a few dollars.
I hope you enjoy an active and injury free spring!