Last year around this time, we told you about how to avoid sports and exercise injuries in the spring. The reason we did is because we see a notable increase in our clients reporting even minor injuries in the spring. And they are often due to getting back into their warm-weather activates before their bodies have gotten out of their cold-weather shape.
Regardless of what time of year, it you’ve been inactive or less active for a period of time, you need to slowly and deliberately work your way up to the higher level of activity to avoid injuries, including being sure to warm up before exercise and build your strength over time.
Among the other points we discussed, one was to simply pay more attention to your body. Sometimes we are tempted to ‘power through’ slight twinges and aches, but, when you’re getting back into shape, they are more often the sign of an issue that can get exponentially worse in a short period of time.
But, one of the best ways to reduce injury risks when you get more active is to start getting back into shape before you actually start jogging around the neighbourhood or riding your bike to work again.
In addition to less activity, or no extra activity at all, the winter can bring on other seasonal habits and conditions that might affect your physical shape and even your mental wellbeing. We tend to rely on ‘comfort’ food (in other words ‘unhealthy’) more in winter and, each year, we learn more about the effects of seasonal affective disorder.
Even if you’ve been in deep hibernation this winter, one of the great things about starting to get back into shape before you go outside is: your summer starts right now!
1. Get Outside
Even if it’s not really warm yet, just the act of getting up and getting outside more often is a step towards getting back into summer shape. Go for a short walk, park further from the entrance to the mall or your work. Or start getting the yard ready for summer. Simple activity gets your body ready for more.
2. Try Working Out Inside
Especially if you’re a jogger or bike rider, winter throws you a bit of a double curve. Not only do the conditions make it tougher to continue with your favourite activity, but you really don’t have any alternatives. It’s not like swimming, which you can do outside in the summer and inside in the winter.
But even if you’re not a fan of treadmills and stationary bikes, there are some ways you can start getting into shape. In addition to starting or increasing your stretching exercises, yoga and/or pilates, you can look for local indoor tracks to begin running again and mount your bike to a trainer, just to get your legs moving.
3. Try Probiotics
Never hear that one as a way to get in shape before? There’s a reason for that. Every year we learn more about the connection between the health of our guts and our overall health. If you’ve noticed increased anxiety, skin irritation and joint paint this winter, the problem might be in your gut. In fact, some studies are linking many of diseases being diagnosed today with an injured or irritated gut. Many doctors and therapists feel that probiotics give you at least some measure of healthy bacteria to help balance any bad stuff. Talk to your doctor for his advice based on your health issues.
4. Dig the Veggies
Yes, they’re available year-round and they’re great. But the spring and summer brings the first fresh, locally-grown produce that gives you even more reason to start eating more of them. When you do have them as raw as you dare to get all the good nutrition needed to fuel your increased activities.
In a nutshell, getting back into shape from winter hibernation to full spring and summer activities means avoiding injures, slowly increasing your activity levels, and taking care of yourself inside and out, mentally and physically. Enjoy!