The beautiful South Florida Spring season brings many opportunities to stay outdoors and increase your physical activity. While everyone can benefit from taking advantage of the pleasant weather, the trick is not to overdo it. Getting your body used to an active lifestyle takes conditioning and common sense.
Before you head outdoors this spring keep the following tips in mind:
Stretch to Release Stiff Joints and Stay Injury Free-
Whether it’s golf, tennis, gardening or just walking- stretching is one way to assure you remain in action longer. A five minute stretching session both before and after physical activity can pay big dividends by keeping you healthy and preserving your motivation to stay active.
First focus on the larger muscle groups. Because the quadriceps and hamstrings in your thighs are generally the largest muscles of the body and play a key supporting role for your back, they deserve special attention. That means stretching the back, front, plus the inner and outer thigh.
Lastly stretch the whole body. Work up through the back, arms and neck, and then down through the calf and ankles.
Hydrate before you exercise-
Nearly every cell of the human body contains water. Without water, cells don’t function properly and they certainly don’t function to their full potential during exercise. This is why it is important to hydrate before exercise.
Studies show that dehydrated exercisers complete three to five fewer reps per set, during strength-training sessions. Dehydration also lowers hormone levels necessary for strong muscles.
One to two hours prior to your heading outdoors, we recommend drinking one ounce of water for every 10 pounds of your body weight. If you weigh 120 pounds, drink 12 ounces of water before and don’t forget to sip water during your workout to replenish the fluids your body loses through sweat.
Heat Therapy Soothes Muscles Before and After Exercise-
Most of us are aware that a heating pad or warm bath after a workout can make a big difference in terms of pain reduction and comfort. What is not so well known is that heat can also play a preventative role, as well.
Applying heat before a workout session can significantly minimize muscle strain. Studies have shown that individuals who applied a heat to their lower back before a workout session rated their post-exercise pain as 50% less intense as those who only stretched prior to working out. Using commercial heat wrap products available in drugstores may help keep you comfortable and get you back to action sooner.
Applying heat therapy after exercise calms the muscles and prevents cramping. After a workout, muscles and joints are potentially dehydrated and, not as stable as when resting. Applying a heating pad or wrap for approximately 10 minutes while seated or lying down after a workout session or strenuous activity can help muscles calm down and return to their normal state without seizing up.