Finding the motivation to exercise when the temperature drops can prove difficult. But spring and summer should inspire you to get out and take advantage of a multitude of physical activities.
You may decide to take up a new activity or return to an exercise that you've neglected because of cold weather. Either way, make sure you prepare for your new routine. After a winter of rest, relaxation, and excessive eating, you need to prepare your body for spring and summer sports. If you don’t, you could end up with an injury that could keep you sedentary until the next season!
Before beginning or restarting your exercise program:
- Assess your current lifestyle.
- If you have any medical conditions, or are over 40 and sedentary, seek your physician's approval before starting any exercise program.
- Consider your fitness goals. Do you want to lose weight, increase your endurance level or gain muscle mass?
- Set a realistic time frame in which to achieve your goals. Don’t set yourself up to fail.
- Once you've decided on your goals, think about which activities will best help you reach them, and how to best incorporate them into your lifestyle.
Gardening can be a great activity for those who love the outdoors. Gardening provides a form of resistance training that builds muscle and can burn an average of 300 calories per hour. Experts say that moderate-intensity exercises, like gardening, done most days of the week, provide enough physical activity to lower your risk for heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and high blood pressure. Work your upper body by turning your compost pile, pulling weeds by hand and raking, and hoeing. Digging targets the muscles in your butt and thighs. To get a cardiovascular workout, use a push mower.
Do you like walking but tend to get bored with it?
You may want to try changing routes when you walk, or go out for a good hike every once in a while. When hiking, make sure you have shoes with good traction, like trail walking shoes or a good pair of regular running or walking shoes. You may want to wear hiking boots if you plan to hike through particularly wet terrain because they keep your feet dry. Most importantly, your shoes should feel comfortable. Also take water with you when you hike, and if you plan to be out for a long period of time, you may want to consider bringing a small snack. Maintaining a fast pace and climbing hills can increase the intensity of your workout, which will increase your endurance and your muscle tone.
Whatever activity you choose, keep a few things in mind:
Always start each session with proper warm-up activities and end with cool-down exercises.
Make sure you gradually increase the intensity and frequency of your activities. If you don't, you could get injured.
Apply sunscreen when exercising outdoors.
Choose activities that you enjoy and will continue to do throughout the spring, summer, fall, and even into next winter.
*Specialist in sports nutrition and physical activity at MyDiet TM
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