Are you a nice weather fitness warrior? You know…someone who is not so active in the winter months but goes all out when the weather gets nice gardening for hours on end, building a deck, cycling across the city or running for miles. While you may think that you can get away with saving your physical activity mostly for the nice weather months, you might be smart to pace yourself!
Summer warriors have a tendency of doing too much, too fast and that’s what puts them at extra risk for injuries like muscle sprains and chronic tendonitis. To avoid injury, it’s best to break your physical activity into smaller, more frequent sessions. Listen to your body. If certain activities cause your pain or discomfort like neck pain, back pain or joint pain, consider hiring someone to help get the job done.
When it comes to exercise, consider a workout that you can get done quickly and more frequently. I am a big fan of HIIT training, which is a technique that involves alternating short, intense bursts of exercise with short recovery periods. Most HIIT workouts can be done within 15-30 minutes, meaning that you just might be able to squeeze them into your busy weekday schedule. With this said, saving your workouts for the weekend is better than not working out at all. So if you have to, just need to be careful and pace yourself!
Here are some guidelines that can help you avoid weekend and summer warrior injuries:
1. Don’t forget to warm up: Believe it or not, it’s best to avoid stretching until your muscles and body are warmed up. You can warm up by walking or biking at a moderate pace. If you are about to do something strenuous, I recommended a dynamic warm-up (also known as movement preparation). A dynamic warm-up involves performing 5-10 reps (per side where applicable) of exercises that use all of your biggest muscles (think lunges with a twist, high kicks, T-Push ups, etc). Taking time to warm up and stretch will help keep you on your feet in the long run. Be sure to include some core exercises in your warm-up as a strong core will help ensure that you don’t “seize” your back. Here are some exercises that you can include in your dynamic warm-up:
2. If it hurts, stop: Sore muscles are normal after an intense workout, but if you feel sharp or stabbing pain, stop exercising immediately. Apply ice right away and if the pain continues make sure to schedule an appointment with your chiropractor or physiotherapist to have it checked out.
3. Ensure that you are using the proper technique: Injuries are often caused when you aren’t employing the proper technique. To learn about the safest ways to exercise, talk with a trainer, or get educated with one of the numerous reliable sources on the Internet.
There you have it summer warriors, a few simple ways to keep you and your body in tip-top shape so that you can do the activities that you love during nice weather month. Have fun playing in the sun!