Yes, You May Get Active

Spring in May is a wonderful time of year. The weather gets better by the day, which not only gives great incentive to spend more time outdoors, but also serves as the perfect time to rededicate yourself to an active and healthy lifestyle. That’s why May is also Physical Fitness and Sports Month.

Since this week is Bike-to-Work Week we’ll provide you with some of the best outdoor activities for spring, however, we’ll start by explaining how to ease into your exercises to avoid injury.

It’s important to prepare your body for any upcoming activities you’ll partake in, especially if you’re coming off a lengthy layoff. According to WebMD, one of the most commonly seen injuries is muscle soreness, stemming from too much activity, too quickly. Therefore, a great starting point is to perform manageable activities to prepare your body for what’s to come. It’s recommended you do slight exercises that increase in duration over time before true strenuous activity.

For example, if you plan on golfing during the spring and summer days, you should increase the amount of time you spend stretching per week for optimal flexibility. If you are a jogger, you should start by walking lightly, and increase the minutes week to week. The key is to prepare your body and avoid any lingering muscle pain. However, on the off chance you do overexert yourself, to recover you’ll need RICE (a mnemonic device used to remember):

  • Rest
  • Ice
  • Compression (with an elastic bandage)
  • Elevation

Now let’s get to the activities! The Huffington Post wrote of the best spring exercises, and we’ll highlight the following:

  1. Biking – You can’t have Bike to Work Week without actual biking. Biking is a great alternative to traditional activities done indoors, plus it improves your cardiovascular fitness while working the legs.
  2. Swimming – If you’re not a big runner, swimming is another great exercise. Another cardiovascular intensive activity, swimming saves your joints of the high impact stress that may be experienced while running.
  3. Outdoor games – A quick game of basketball with your buddies, or tossing a Frisbee with your kids, these fast-paced games are a great way to get active during the spring.
  4. Hiking – While we’re not saying to go climb Mt. Everest, there are plenty of hiking trails that offer the same benefit: power and endurance training, core conditioning, and balance improvement.
  5. Yoga – Typically thought of as an indoor activity, but outdoor yoga offers great benefits, such as, new levels of mental concentration and peacefulness.

There are plenty more activities that provide both the physical and mental benefits, but the key is to find the one you enjoy and get active. This is the perfect time to not only challenge yourself physically, but also explore new avenues to be lively. If you are starting a new exercise program or searching for new ways to get active, it’s important to reach out to your R-Health doctor to make sure you are fit for the task.

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