With the weather improving – albeit slowly – and after a long, cold winter, many of us are eager to get outside and enjoy the great outdoors.
After all, there’s no better way to top up your vitamin D levels than getting out in the sunshine!
But whether you’re planning to go hiking, running, cycling, or any other outdoor activity, it’s important to take steps to prevent injuries and ensure that you can enjoy these activities safely.
Here at Alba we’re huge believers that PREVENTION is key when it comes to avoiding sports-related injuries.
Here are our 5 top tips to help you prepare for outdoor exercise (even if you spent the whole of winter wrapped up warm at home):
#1. Start slow
It’s easy to get carried away with exercise, especially after the initial aches and pains subside.
But my advice? Start slow and gradually increase the intensity and duration of your workouts over time:
This is critical to not only avoid overexertion (and keep habits sustainable) but also to reduce the risk of injury.
If you’re just starting out, it’s important to give your body time to adjust to the activity and enable you to gradually build up your endurance.
This can also help you avoid the temptation to do too much too soon, which can lead to burnout or injuries like strains and sprains.
#2. Warm up
Let’s be honest, nobody wants to waste time warming up.
But warming up is essential to prevent injury and can help improve flexibility – especially if you’re doing activities you’re not used to.
This can be as simple as walking, stretching, and doing dynamic movements like leg swings, arm circles, and lunges.
Warming up helps increase blood flow to your muscles, which can improve performance and reduce the risk of injury.
#3. Get the right gear
I think we’re all worried of being the person with “all the gear, no idea”…
But investing in quality equipment can help reduce the risk of injury and improve your overall experience.
For example, if you’re planning to go hiking, make sure to wear supportive hiking boots that fit properly and provide adequate ankle support.
And if you’re going for a long hike, make sure you’ve tested that they’re comfortable, so you don’t end up with a foot full of blisters!
If you’re planning to cycle, invest in a properly fitting helmet and consider padded cycling shorts for added comfort.
And even if you’re just planning to go walking at lunchtime, selecting the right footwear can impact your movement and prevent issues from flaring up.
#4. Stretch and strengthen
Long gone are the days where strength training is reserved for bodybuilders.
Strength or ‘resistance’ training boasts a whole range of benefits – especially as we get older – including boosting our metabolism and improving bone density (to prevent breaks or fractures).
And as I mentioned with regards to warming up, stretching can help improve flexibility and reduce the risk of injury.
Consider incorporating exercises that target the muscles and joints used in your chosen activity.
For example, if you’re planning to go hiking, focus on exercises that improve balance and stability, such as single-leg deadlifts or lunges.
#5. Get adjusted
Remember, PREVENTION is better than CURE.
And in addition to relieving existing pain, regular Chiropractic adjustments will help improve your posture, alignment, and balance – all of which will dramatically reduce the risk of injury and improve overall athletic performance.
Better yet, the improvements in your sleep and energy levels will help motivate you to get out and get moving!
Don’t let injuries prevent you from enjoying your favourite outdoor activities this spring!
For more info on how we could help you get active outside, or to arrange your next adjustment Give us a call on 01925 411005 and we’ll be on hand to help.