Thursday, March 21, 2013

Leaping into Spring!

As spring shows us its sunny days and lovely budding green plants, we have an unquenchable urge to go out and enjoy it. Embrace that thought and get out there! Usually people start cycling, running, playing sports, and all kinds of great outdoor activities this time of year. A few things to remember, though, before you leap into a spring fitness program are: walk before you run, stretch after you play, and always remember that, if you have not sprinted since the last ball game of last year, perhaps you should not do your first sprint when you hit your first infield single of this year.

Running is a big spring time fitness activity. Many people get into running by simply going out and running. This, however, is often a direct path to injury. Make sure that you go out and do some walking before you start running. Get your feet, hips, knees, and brain used to the idea of moving your stiff winter body around before going out and hammering out a 10k. Heed the ageless adage: "Don’t run to get fit, but instead get fit to run!" Be a little bit patient if you have not run since last year and take time to slowly allow your body to adjust to the impact and stresses of running.

Stretching cannot be overstated as an important component of any fitness routine, but it is especially important when starting a new fitness endeavor. When you start using muscles for the first time in months, they will invariably tighten up after your exercise and it is essential that you are stretching and maintaining or even improving your flexibility to avoid injury.  After you run, walk, play, or hike, be sure that you are taking 5-10 minutes to stretch your major muscle groups.

Sprinting down the baseline for the first time of the year is an excellent way to pull a muscle. If you were to poll our local physiotherapists and chiropractors, they would all agree that the softball hamstring tear is a very normal springtime injury. To avoid this pitfall, make sure that you are warming up your legs while drinking your beer in between innings! Make sure that you have attempted a few light runs and light sprints before you get into a game situation and your competitive self takes over and decides that this spring league game may be your last shot at glory.

If you have hit your workouts all winter and maintained or even improved your fitness level (after all, that IS what off-season is for), then great! You are ready to rock and enjoy some springtime activities. For those of you who have let things slide over the dark and grey winter months, please take the above advice to heart and take the time to prep your body before leaping into spring! 

          ~ Yoshia

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