It’s mid-March and spring is right around the corner!
Whether you’re dusting off your bike, making the transition from treadmill to trailhead or lacing up your favorite hiking boots for adventure, many of us are beginning to gear up for some serious outdoor activity this season.
But what if winter hibernation has gotten the best of us?
With the holidays come and gone, their residual effects may be overstaying their welcome. Maybe it’s a few extra pounds hanging on from Thanksgiving and Christmas, or perhaps just the stiffness that comes with being dormant for the last couple of months.
Either way, getting back into shape isn’t nearly as difficult as you think.
Here are three essential tips to start your transformation!
As soon as the weather makes a turn for spring, it can be very tempting to be out and about as much as possible!
However, after such a long period of reduced activity through the winter, it’s important to start slow and build into your spring and summer fitness goals.
For instance, as a casual runner, if you were to run a 5k the very first day you were back on pavement, an injury could end your season before it began! Your body, having spent the winter less-active than normal, needs time to get used to the impact of real running as opposed to running with the reduced impact of a treadmill or elliptical.
By simply working up to a 5k over the course of a few weeks and allowing your body to properly adjust, you can avoid injury.
The point is, if you build to your fitness goals, you will stay healthy enough to achieve them.
Eat Right and Hydrate
Let’s face it: it’s hard to stick to a winter diet.
With all the holidays, comfort food and simply spending most of the time inside, winter can wreak havoc on a diet!
But fear not, in can all be undone, and perhaps even easier than you think.
Just because it isn’t officially spring yet doesn’t mean you can’t opt for that spring salad on the menu. Another great change of pace is replacing fatty animal proteins like pork with healthier plant-based options, like chickpeas (click here for some excellent high-protein vegetarian recipes).
In addition to diet, hydration has a lot to do with weight loss and overall well-being. One of the most important components of any successful diet is proper hydration—water will help you burn calories, curb appetite and stimulate your metabolism.
Click here for a more in depth explanation of water and weight-loss.
New levels of physical stress put new levels of strain on your system, so make the transition as easy as possible! Proper hydration ensures a better workout, aids in recovery time and reduces levels of fatigue. According to the Mayo Clinic, the average woman needs 9 cups of water each day, while a man needs 13
cups, with an additional 2 and ½ cups per hour of exercise.
Make sure you’re getting yours!
While we all know rest and recovery are both important parts of any fitness regimen, few of us realize how important they are.
Both muscular endurance and muscle growth require periods of exercise and rest. During exercise the muscle cells breakdown, followed by cellular rebuilding—and growth—during rest.
Without rest, the muscles will simply continue to breakdown. This means muscles will grow slowly or not at all, which in many cases, leads to injury.
Taking a rest day isn’t lazy—it’s smart.
The Take Away
Whatever you do, as small as you start, just get out there and do it. A healthier you is a better you, and your physical well-being has been proven to be an essential component to your happiness.
I don’t know about you, but I’m welcoming spring with open arms!
Yours in health,
Dr. Thomas Caley