As the snowdrops delight us, the daylight hours are longer and the green shoots of spring are all around us, our thoughts turn to outdoor activities. That could be brushing the dust off the bicycle, finding the golf clubs, or looking for your trusty gardening gloves. What you choose means engaging a set of muscles that you probably haven’t used for quite a while. So what are the top tips for easing your way back into outdoor activities after a long winter layover?
1. Be kind to yourself – the weeding / sweeping doesn’t have to be achieved in one day nor the 50km bike ride on day one! Little and often is the golden rule!
2. Plan the activity – it’s more fun with someone else whether it’s walking a new route, or turning over the soil in the garden – listen to music if you’re on your own or catch up on a podcast you’ve been meaning to listen to!
3. Warm up first before commencing – start with some gentle stretching and make it a routine part of the activity. You will regret it otherwise and will soon become familiar with DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness) which is the pain and stiffness felt in muscles several hours to days after unaccustomed or strenous exercise.
4. Try something new – it’s never too late to take up a new sport or activity – joining a club means that there are other newbies learning and it’s more fun too.
5. Enjoy yourself – whilst there is the “no pain – no gain” theory of pushing yourself to achieve, being outdoors for most of us should be joyful. The positive gains of being in the fresh air are bountiful – surrounding yourself with negative ions (those are the good ones) from the Earth’s natural enery – particularly abundant near water and trees. Your mental health will also benefit – movement at any level creates a more positive mindset and that will impact on your relationships, your work and your purpose. Go figure!
6. Remember to hydrate before your start your exerise, during to keep those hydration levels up and afterwards to flush away the build up of any lactic acid you may have generated. Stretching afterwards will help stimulate circulation, increase flexibility and relieve tension. This helps bring more oxygen to your muscles which can help reduce lactic acid production and rid your muscles of an accumulation of lactic acid!
Lastly, if you do ‘over do’ the exerise, as an advocate of wellness, I would encourage you to find a natural way of managing the pain – there are plenty to choose from such as essential oils and magnetic therapy. Certainly a better option than an pharmaceutical one!
What’s your Spring fever going to be?