BY: Phil Herr, DPT, OCS, Cert. Mdt- Linglestown, PA
The unofficial start of summer is upon us. If you haven’t exercised regularly since last summer, it’s time to get going again. Here are five tips to ensure a safe return to physical fitness.
Stretch: Prepare your body for activity with an active warm-up followed by static or dynamic stretching. Stretching will give your joints the ability to move through the range of motion that your activity demands. Stretching after workouts can reduce muscle ache and soreness.
Follow a progression: Start slowly and not where you finished last year. Whatever your activity, it is important to progress into it. Your body needs time to adjust to the new demands. This can help reduce the risk of the most common injuries suffered by the weekend warrior: those caused by overuse, muscle strains or sprains. Do not progress your exercise to the next level unless your form is correct.
Hydrate: Drink 8 to 11 ounces of water every 20 minutes during exercise. After one hour, it’s important to drink fluids containing carbohydrates and electrolytes such as popular sports drinks.
Diversify: Don’t always perform the same sport or the same exercise routine. Training diversity allows the body to adapt to a wide variety of stressors, ensuring a more optimal level of fitness. This also can reduce the risk of overuse injuries.
Spread it out: It’s best to spread your activity throughout the week, not only working out on the weekends. This will give your body time to rest and recover between exercise.
Make sure to check with your physician or other health professional to determine what physical activity is appropriate for you.