Grass is growing, trees are blooming, and birds are chirping. Spring is officially here! It’s a great time to reevaluate your fitness goals and put that spring back in your step. Eatright.org offers 5 great tips to freshen up your spring fitness routine:
- Eat. Sometimes when we start a new fitness routine we forget how important food is in maintaining the routine. Food is fuel. Fueling up with the right foods is an important part of any fitness routine. A good rule of thumb is to eat 1 to 3 hours prior to exercise. It is best to pair protein and carbohydrates together. You might try some peanut butter and a banana, oatmeal with low-fat milk and fruit, or greek yogurt with berries. Avoid foods high in added sugars right before your workout. These type of foods will give you energy, but it will fade quickly.
- Drink. Staying hydrated is just as important as giving your body the right fuel. It is best to drink water all throughout the day and especially within the hour prior to exercising. Drinking is the only way to rehydrate and cool your body down from the inside out.
- Stretch. Sometimes you might be tempted to skip stretching. Both warming up and cooling down by stretching is essential to a successful workout routine. It prepares your body for exercise and also gives your body a chance to slow down. Your risk for stiff and sore muscles is reduced when you stretch properly. It is best to start with dynamic stretching, like walking lunges, squats, or arm circles to get your body warmed up. Static stretching, where you extend a specific muscle group and hold the stretch, should be saved for after a workout when your body is already warm. To find out more about stretching and exercise safety, click here.
- Go Slow. Starting slow and working up to your goal is the best way to ease into any exercise routine. If you go too hard or too fast right off the bat, you will probably end up too tired, sore, or injured to continue on with your exercise routine. If you need some ideas to start your new exercise routine, click here.
- Rest. Exercising actually causes tiny tears in your muscle fibers. Your muscles need time to heal these tears and build themselves back up. Be sure to get plenty of sleep when starting a new exercise routine. You might also consider varying the type of exercise you are doing to avoid certain muscle groups becoming overworked. For example, if running is your exercise of choice, be sure to add some cross training in the mix by biking, swimming or, strength training a few days a week.
Follow these five tips for a successful fitness routine and to put the spring back in your step. You will be well on your way to a more healthy, more fit, and more happy you in no time.
Overnight Oats is a great recipe to try as you prepare for exercise. It combines whole-grain oats and healthy carbohydrates to fuel you through your workout. Enjoy!
Certified Nutrition Education Assistant