Winter is almost over and many of us are looking forward to spring’s lighter nights and warmer weather. For some, spring offers the chance for people to get out and get active again after hibernating inside away from the cold all winter. If you plan to get fit and healthy this spring, then there are definitely better ways of going about it, so I’d like to give some advice about how to get out and get fit this spring!
Set Realistic Fitness Goals
When the weather improves a little, people can jump into their fitness regimes with a little too much vigour and can either burn out their enthusiasm or injure themselves by overtraining.
For runners, it’s good advice to start off with a very manageable distance on each run. It’s also important to only raise you weekly accumulated mileage by a maximum of 10% each week. You might feel significantly fitter reasonably quickly, but you need to give your tendons, joints, and muscles enough time to catch up with your cardio fitness. If you raise your running distance too quickly you cause injuries that may take a lot of time to heal. The most common type of injury caused by rushing in or overtraining is IT band syndrome, which you can read all about on Runner’s World, here.
For weightlifters and bodybuilders, make sure you raise your weights and/or reps gradually too. Muscle pain, or delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS), when you haven’t worked out in a while can be pretty tough, so easing yourself in gradually is important. Do not try to lift what you used to lift when you went to the gym years ago, and do not push yourself too much for the first few months. After several months of working out, your body will be conditioned to withstand more weight and you can push yourself a little harder. But this initial grooving period is necessary and will help you avoid injury.
Invest in the Right Eyewear
Safety, whether running or lifting weights, is very important. And wearing the right prescription for your eyes, and thus seeing where you’re going, is very important.
For runners who require corrective lenses, it’s a good idea to invest in a pair of prescription sunglasses, as they take care of two safety risks: they protect your eyes from harmful UV rays; and they allow you to see where you’re going clearly, spotting any potential hazards, such as potholes, cyclists, or cars. It’s also a good idea to buy sports sunglasses, as they are fitted with wraparound arms and rubber bridges that keep your sunglasses fixed securely to your face. You do not have to pay an arm and a leg for prescription sunglasses, either; look for online retailers like Red Hot Sunglasses, as they have a huge prescription sunglasses collection, and online retailers are cheaper because they buy their stock in bulk from the top brands and do not have pay the cost of running a High St store. All of this means that the costs they save are reflected in their prices.
For weightlifters and bodybuilders, the right eyewear is important because you’ll be lifting heavy free weights and using potentially dangerous machines each time to visit the gym. If your vision is impaired – even a little – you may have an accident and injure yourself or someone else. It’s a good idea to get an up-to-date eye test to make sure your current prescription is still working for you. Ensure you always wear your glasses to the gym. If you’re lifting weights, then normal glasses will suffice, but if you’re running on treadmills, then it’s a good idea to invest in sports glasses that will rest on your face more securely.
Think Carefully About Your Nutrition
Pretty much any fitness instructor you talk to will tell you that it doesn’t matter what exercise you do if you aren’t mindful about what you eat and drink. A healthy balance is key: look to include a nice spread of fruit, green vegetables (lots of fibre and minerals), lean protein (pulses, chicken and turkey breast), low GI carbohydrates (such as sweet potatoes and oats), and healthy fats (such as flax seeds, avocado, and oily fish).
Depending on your training regime, you should be prepared to change your diet to give you the energy to achieve your goals. Nutrition is a very complex subject to get into, so make sure you read up lots about it. Men’s and Woman’s Fitness are great places to find out more about your specific dietary needs and to make a nutrition plan that fits in with your fitness regime.
Invest in a Fitness Band
The last section in this article is more shopping advice than fitness advice. If you don’t have one already, you may like to consider buying a fitness band. There are so many to choose from now, across a huge price range; you can either buy a relatively simple one that measures your steps and sleep or go the whole hog and get one that measures your heartrate, your distance travelled, and has a built-in GPS so that you can record your runs on a map (along with various metrics) without having to take your smartphone along for the sweaty bumpy ride.
Fitness bands are a great way to keep track of your progress as they show you in clear, quantifiable numbers and graphs what you’re achieving with your exercise regime. Often, when other things are getting you down, or you don’t think you’re improving fast enough, a fitness band can buoy you up by telling you exactly what you’ve achieved or how you’ve improved. Shop around for the right band for you and make sure you read a few reviews before you decide to make a purchase.
That’s all of the advice I have time for in this article. I hope it’s been useful, and that it helps a few readers get out and get fit this spring.