Spring has finally sprung. If the winter weather has kept you indoors, and you’ve dialed down your activity, you are not alone. So now that the days are longer, the weather is warming, and we’re getting more sunny days we are all ready to get out and enjoy our favorite things. Hiking, biking, softball teams, frisbee, running, you name it now is the time!
Don’t pick up where you left off last September or October! While you may have not lost much cardiovascular fitness in a few months, your muscles have done less, or even pretty much nothing if you’ve retreated to sweatpants on the couch. One thing is for sure; you have trained your muscles for something other than your typical outdoor activity. You need to get back in shape for any activity: gardening, soccer, or kickball. Here are some tips to avoid the inevitable pain from going from 0-60 in one sunny weekend.
- Fuel up on Vitamin C. It has been shown to reduce DOMS, which is sore muscles the day after. Get 1000-3000 mg/day for a few days prior to beginning exercise.
- Hydrate. Drink 1-2 glasses of water a few hours before exercise and again after. Have water available to drink during exercise if you are thirsty. Dehydration is a common cause of muscle cramps and will impair your performance overall.
- Warm up. This doesn’t need to be anything crazy if you’re ‘not doing much’, but walking a little to get warm before your first run of the season is a good idea. Warmed muscles are less likely to be injured.
- Gradually build up. Realize that it has been a few months and be okay with that. Start with something easy, don’t push your limits the first day. Then increase your length of time playing or distance running/hiking/walking by 10% each week.
- Stretch. Do some activity specific stretches, especially after activity. If you don’t know what are good stretches for your activity, ask!
These are some simple tips to get you up and running this season. Follow them and you will have less soreness and be less prone to injury. If you do happen to overdo it, come see your chiropractor; yes, we are open on weekends.