It’s Finally Spring!
Spring and exercise go hand in hand. The weather’s getting warmer, the days are longer, and people are getting more active. With winter slowly moving behind us, it is only natural to want to emerge from the hibernation-like state a lot of people go through during the winter and want to get moving. If you’re trading in that cozy winter coat for some running shoes, you aren’t alone! You may be wondering where to start so if you haven’t exercised all winter, we can help you get started.
Before we get started on some exercise tips, we will cover the fundamentals of exercise.
There are four main categories of exercise: endurance, strength, flexibility, and balance. Each type of exercise is different, but each one is an important focus and offers its benefits. Whether you want to start your garden, go cycling, start running, or whatever activity you are interested in getting started, we have you covered with these tips.
Endurance exercises increase your breathing and heart rate. These exercises are typically aerobics exercises and help improve your fitness, improve the health of your heart, lungs, and circulatory system. Improving and building your endurance makes it easier to do everyday activities. Help build your endurance by doing some of the following exercises:
- A brisk walk or jog
Increasing your endurance will help you be able to keep up with your kids, do your gardening, dance to your favorite songs, and so much more!
Some safety tips on gradually building your endurance are:
- Do warm-up and cool-down exercises before and after any endurance-building exercises.
- Stay hydrated. Be sure to drink water when you’re doing any activity that makes you sweat.
- Listen to your body! If something doesn’t feel right, is causing pain, or you’re starting to feel dizzy, take a break. Don’t force yourself to continue because it could lead to injury.
Strength training exercises are perfect for building muscle and getting stronger! You don’t have to be a bodybuilder to do strength training exercises– anyone can do them at any fitness level. The smallest increase in muscle mass can have a huge impact on your ability to carry out day-to-day tasks. Tasks such as taking out the garbage or carrying in the groceries will become easier over time. Exercises that can help you build strength are:
- Using resistance bands
- Lifting weights. The weights can be as light or as heavy as you need them to be.
- Wall push-ups
- Gripping a tennis ball
- Breath! Stay mindful of your breathing when doing strength training (or any) exercises. It’s easy to become focused on exercising and forget to do something as simple as breathing.
- Talk to your doctor if you are unsure of whether or not an exercise is for you.
- Build your strength with physical therapy. Physical therapy is a great way to get stronger in a safe environment.
Stretching exercises are a great way to improve your flexibility. Improving your flexibility will help your body stay limber, improve your range of motion, posture, and circulation. Here are some flexibility exercises you can do:
- Calf stretches
- Forward lunges
- Don’t stretch so much that it’s painful.
- Start slow and don’t stretch too fast to avoid injury.
- Stretch after working out to help give your body a jump start on recovery.
Balance exercises help to improve your coordination and strength. They also help with stability, mobility, and preventing injury, such as falls. Some balance exercises you can do are:
- Tai Chi
- Standing on one foot
- Heel-toe walking
- Have a chair nearby if you are feeling unsteady during your balance exercises.
Now that we have the fundamentals of exercise down, it’s time to focus on some exercises that are great places to start after a brief hiatus from exercise.
NJ offers some fantastic hiking trails! From advanced trails to easy and relaxing ones, there are so many in NJ to choose from. Apps like AllTrails are a great way to find hiking trails near you. Hikes can be sorted by length, difficulty level, and elevation to know what you are getting into before starting your hike. Some local favorite hiking trails are the Garrett Mountain Yellow and White trail in Woodland Park, the Red Trail Loop at Eagle Rock Reservation in West Orange, and Pyramid Mountain Natural Historic Area in Montville where you can get a glimpse of the NYC skyline on certain parts of the trail!
Running is an excellent way to get your heart racing. If you have not run before or just getting your feet wet with running, programs like Couch to 5K are a great way to get started. Start slow, maintain proper form to avoid injury, and invest in a good pair of running shoes. Even if you can only run for 1 minute, that’s a small accomplishment that will help you reach your goal of becoming a runner. So get out and start running to achieve your goal of becoming a runner.
Ride Your Bike:
Have a bike? Enjoy the beautiful spring weather on your bike and cruise around town! Cycling is a fun way to get some exercise in and riding a bike is a great way to strengthen your core, your legs and improve your balance. Plus, it is a gentle exercise and gentler on the joints than other exercises.
Take your regular workout outside!
Whatever exercises you have been doing inside can be modified and done outside. By doing exercises outside you can get a change of pace and also bask in the sunshine. Whether you want to get together with some friends in the park and do yoga together or do some strength training exercises in your backyard, your options are limitless! So get outside and enjoy the warm weather.
We can help!
Do you need some help getting started with exercising? Our physical therapists are here to help you get back on track and create an exercise plan that is right for you. Call us at 973-400-3730 to schedule your complimentary physical fitness exam today. We will assess your fitness level, tell you which exercises to start with, how to progress, and how to start exercising again so you love exercising.
What are some activities you enjoy doing? Let us know what you enjoy doing we’ll do our best to incorporate them into your fitness plan. Give us a call today!