How To "Spring" Into Your Best Shape!

Close-up of a smiling man wearing a sweatshirt in the parkLooking for some great spring exercise ideas? With the coming of spring, some of us feel the itch to spring into action once again.

For many people who live in colder climates, regular exercise can decrease in regularity over the winter. Couple this with heavier foods and a natural desire for more carbohydrates and fats during the colder months, and the few extra winter pounds that we may have gained urge us to renew our exercise program with renewed intensity and desire for health. However, starting slow is key, and if we want to avoid injury, we have to pace ourselves and work our way back to our previous level of fitness and activity.

Stretch and Tone

For muscles unaccustomed to being put through their paces, stretching and simple toning exercises are a very good way to begin. Muscles always need to be warmed up prior to exercise in order to avoid injury, but if you’ve been somewhat of a couch potato this past winter, it’s even more important to regain your flexibility and tone before you hit the courts, the gym or the track.

If you’re looking for a gentle way to restart your fitness program, yoga classes offer strengthening, toning and increased flexibility that can only serve to enhance your ability to work out efficiently and safely. And some research shows that stretching before and after exercise can actually improve the efficiency—and efficacy—of your workouts. If you’re uncertain about the demands of a yoga class, meet with the teacher beforehand and voice your concerns. Most teachers will work with you to avoid injury and pace yourself.