5 Ways to Spring into Shape
It’s time to put away the heavy winter coats and enjoy the warm sun! As you break out your spring wardrobe, consider breaking out of that winter fitness rut and find a new motivation to get healthy.
Nothing can help you get motivated to shape up this spring more than a fun activity. Whatever healthy activity you choose remember to stay hydrated, says Dr. Charles Smith, UAMS family medicine physician. “Most of us dread heavy workouts when it’s hot,” Smith said. “Whatever you do, drink plenty of fluids before, during and after your workout to avoid dehydration, which can leave you feeling lethargic and unproductive.”
Shape up this spring with these activities:
Take a Yoga Class - Yoga is an excellent way to stretch and strengthen your body, focus your mind and reduce stress. It will increase flexibility and reduce your risk for injury. It has also been proven to increase your awareness and concentration. If yoga doesn’t interest you, try Pilates, which is a conditioning program that strengthens the muscles used in everyday actions such as walking, sitting, twisting, bending and lifting. Go Walking – Walking has wonderful benefits for the heart, lungs and circulatory system. It can help you manage your weight and control your blood pressure and cholesterol. However, you need to make it something you can look forward to every day by finding ways to spice it up. Try finding a partner, take a different route or find other ways to rev up your workout. If you can’t make it outside, try some treadmill routines.
Ride a Bike – Biking is an excellent fitness activity. A person weighing 150 pounds, cycling at 6 mph, can burn 240 calories an hour. The same person cycling at 12 mph can burn 410 calories an hour. “Biking is ideal because the wind factor helps you tolerate the heat better,” Smith said. Don't start off intensely. Instead, gradually elevate your heart rate by warming up for the first five to 10 minutes of your ride, pedaling slowly while riding on flat ground. Otherwise, soreness is apt to set in and you increase your risk of a chronic injury, such as tendonitis. At the end of your ride, cool down for five minutes by gearing down and pedaling more slowly.
Hit the Water - Swimming offers its own unique set of benefits. Besides providing a good workout for your heart and lungs, water offers constant, gentle pressure on every part of the body, which helps improve circulation from the outside in, eases joint and back pain, and increases flexibility and range of motion. Like exercising on land, it's important to organize your water workout into three parts: a warm-up, the main set and a cool-down.
Hit the Dance Floor - Dancing uses the whole body and is a great cardiovascular workout while improving flexibility, coordination and strength. Dancing is not a simple physical activity because it requires mental activity too. Because dancing is a low-impact activity, soreness or overworking the muscles is less of an issue.