A Safe Spring Exercise Program
Wednesday, June 4, 2014
If you are anything like most Canadians, your exercise program suffered badly during the winter. No one wants to get out of bed early in the morning or stay away from home late in the evening to go to the gym. If you want to re-start your exercise program, here are some suggestions for how to do it safely:
- Doctors recommend you have your annual medical checkup done at the beginning of spring. Once you have a clean bill of health, and you have been confirmed free of heart, blood and breathing problems, you can confidently start a strenuous exercise program.
- If you are feeling unfit after the winter, you may have to start slowly. Depending on your general level of fitness, start with a ten minute fast daily walk which you can step up by five or ten minutes every week. After about a month, you will be ready to increase your speed and to engage in other harsher forms of exercise.
- You consequently must do longer warm-ups than you would do during the summer. This is the trickiest if you go to a gym where most people jump straight on exercise machines, but can be a problem elsewhere too. Before you start exercising, make sure you stretch your muscles. Then begin your exercise, but at a slower speed so that those muscles can become gradually more flexible.
- The best exercise program includes several components: resistance exercises like weight lifting to build muscle strength, stretching exercises to increase flexibility, and running and aerobic exercises to develop muscle and cardiovascular endurance.
- If you regularly exercise outside during the snowy winter and the rainy summer, check your shoes for cracks and water damage. If a shoe breaks halfway through a run, you can hurt your ankles or calf muscles. Examine your other exercise equipment to ensure it can handle the punishment you will inflict on it during the summer.
If you cannot motivate yourself to start after the winter break, find a type of exercise you enjoy. Jogging or cycling in a pleasant park or forest beats a treadmill in the gym any day. If you like swimming, find a pool and get going. Exercise with upbeat music or even audio books, if that will keep you going.