By Carissa Bealert, RDN, CPT
New Year’s Resolutions often center on fitness, but the cold and weather conditions of winter can often make reaching those resolutions hard. As the temperatures slowly creep up, it’s time to think about re-charging your fitness routine. Start walking or running outside, plan a hike, or pick a challenging high-intensity class to try with a buddy.
Starting a workout routine is a very positive choice for your body and health, but when starting out injuries can occur. Below are 4 tips to re-starting your fitness routine that will help you stay injury free.
1. Avoid the Terrible “Too’s”
How can you assure that your relationship with this new workout routine will not crash and burn and leave you sore and possibly injured? Too much, too soon, too fast. Start slow if you’re a new runner. That means speed, distance and frequency. Even if you’re an experienced runner, remember that not every workout needs to be a race pace and you need off days to recover and really develop into a faster, stronger runner. If you are starting a new class or activity, give yourself permission to go slowly in the beginning. Also, plan rest days just like you plan exercise days so your body has time to recover.
- Remember the Proper Nutrition
You can’t drive your car without gas and you can’t keep training, running or exercising without properly fueling your body. Eat before you exercise, hydrate during; eat around 15 grams of carbohydrates for every 60 minutes or more that you exercise, and consume carbohydrates AND protein after your run or exercise.
Hydration is so important to exercise and allowing your body to perform and feel its best. Even a 2% dehydration can decrease your performance so keep your homes stocked with great hydration options.
Water is the go-to for all day hydration and shorter bursts of exercise. New for 2018 is BODYARMOR SportWater. It has a sport pH of 8+ and a proprietary electrolyte blend for faster hydration. The 1L bottle also has a wide mouth, which makes in-workout hydration super easy.
If you’re exercising over 60 minutes, exercising in the heat, you are someone who sweats a lot or you’re looking for an alternative to water, then the right sports drink is going to be important for you. BODYARMOR LYTE Sports Drink is a premium sports drink that contains potassium-packed electrolytes, coconut water and vitamins plus – and is made with no artificial flavors or sweeteners and no colors from artificial sources – unlike most other sports drinks. BODYARMOR LYTE is naturally sweetened and only has 20 calories per serving.
- Work on Flexibility
Consistent stretching will help increase and then maintain your flexibility, which will improve your running, range of motion, and posture, and help prevent injuries. There are a lot of misconceptions about the best stretching practices.
Dynamic stretching is good before exercise. Basically you are mimicking the exercise you are about to do, but slowly to warm up those muscles. If you are about to run you would lightly run in place. If you are about to squat or lift weights you would do 10-15 movements with no weights.
Post workout try stretching at least an hour after you run or exercise and hold each stretch for 30 seconds without bouncing. A stretch should never feel painful but you will feel muscles lengthening. Find a routine that you like and do it nightly. Your body will thank you.
- Wear the Proper Shoes
Not all shoes are created equal. Not all athletes are created equal. We have different feet, pronation, and alignment and that means certain shoes could be better or worse for you. If you are looking to start running or walking, find an expert in your area who will analyze your gait and recommend the proper footwear. This is also important if you’re already recovering from an injury as it could be worsened by incorrect or worn out footwear. If you’re starting a workout class, look for a shoe with stability that can provide support in high impact exercises.
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