Spring is here — depending on the day, anyway. On the occasions when the sun is inviting you outside for your seasonally-appropriate sport or activity, are you sure your body can keep up with your plans? Have you checked your range of motion lately, maintained a weight-lifting program, or walked from more than your well-worn path between the couch and fridge?
If you’re a student-athlete, chances are good that you have kept an off-season routine. However, if your competitive sports days are behind you, there’s more of a chance that your fitness motivation has been a little lax.
Don’t sweat it (or do actually). We’ve got you covered with what to do and not to do as you venture back into getting physical.
Slow Your Roll
You don’t jump into the deep end when you’re learning to swim just like you should ease into reactivating. The first step is to get a figurative and literal pulse on where you are:
- Find out your body mass index (BMI)
- Time how long it takes to walk a mile and record your pulse before/after
- Figure out how many push-ups you can do at once as well as sit-ups
- Sit on the floor with your legs outstretched and see how far you can reach
By doing these activities, you can get a baseline for where you are physically and figure out your trajectory from there. Maintain a steady and appropriate base. Push where you can, but don’t go too far. Listen to your body. It’ll tell you what you can handle, which will help you avoid injuries like sprained ankles, injured ACLs, and more.
Tips for Working on Your Fitness
First things first when you start getting active, reduce your activity from what you were last doing. You’re not there anymore, and that’s ok. You will be again. Reduce your reps, decrease the weight you’re lifting, and slow down your run. For a safer workout, gradually work up to get back to where you were before you started taking it easier.
Crucial in all of that, as you likely know but may need reminding, are your warmups and cooldowns. Warmups provide more blood flow to muscles and joints, which reduces injury risk. Cooldowns help you avoid hurting your recently worked muscles. Stretching is key, too. The more gentle stretching you do, the better care you’re taking of yourself by helping to prevent muscle and joint damage. Consider the following exercises to help you get back into shape:
- Hip thrusts
- Leg swings
The previous exercises are the trifecta of helping you stretch, strengthen, and improve your aerobic health. Just remember: taking it too easy won’t deliver the fitness level you want — while pushing too hard can lead to injury.
If You Go Too Hard, Too Fast…
It happens to the best of us. You get ahead of yourself and end up with an injury. Whether it’s an accident or from going too hard, a Beacon specialist can help. Schedule an appointment today to learn more.