Monday Medical: Spring exercise tips

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For some, the end of the ski season simply means a change in equipment without interruption of their fitness regimen. For others, adjusting to a different season presents a crux: “Now what do I do?”

“Offseason presents a perfect time to focus on fitness fundamentals such as flexibility and core stabilization,” said Gina Gower, of Yampa Valley Medical Center’s SportsMed.

As the snow melts, it can be challenging for some to stay motivated with staying fit. Unpredictable weather is an easy excuse for skipping workouts. Finding a new, consistent fitness program can prove challenging

“Spring workouts bring summer fun,” SportsMed physical therapist Tracy Parcheta said. “Part of staying motivated through spring is to think about what you want to do this summer.”

Gower and Parcheta recommend these tips to keep fit this spring and train for a healthy, happy summer:

■ Set goals. Goal-setting is the key to motivation. Goals focus your energy and direct your actions. Be sure to set short-term (how many workouts a week) as well as long-term goals (what you want to be in shape for this summer). Goals must be well-defined, realistic and measurable.

■ Find a fitness partner or join an exercise class. Be sure to find a partner who is committed to the exercise program, has similar exercise goals and is someone whose company you enjoy.

■ Start slowly and know your limits. Gradually increase the length and intensity of your workouts. Overworking yourself leads to burnout. Fatigue, insomnia and irritability are signs that you are overexerting yourself.

■ When planning workouts, incorporate stretching, cardiovascular, flexibility, strength and balance/core stability.

■ Add variety. Vary the type, location and intensity of your workouts, or change the order of the exercises in your routine. Do lots of activities for short periods of time to keep things interesting. For example, if indoors, do 15 minutes each of the following: rowing, biking, elliptical and treadmill.

■ Be spontaneous. If you have only 20 minutes, go for a walk or do your stretching routine.

■ Try something completely new. Never tried Yoga? Pilates? Spin? Take lessons or even sign up for a dance class.

■ Sign up to compete in an event. This will give you something to work toward. Make a training schedule that will have you ready by the day of the event.

■ Schedule your exercise time. When you schedule your workouts on the same days at the same times, exercise will become a part of your usual routine. Not exercising will begin to feel unnatural.

■ Make a plan to accommodate weather conditions. If you cannot exercise outdoors, or the roads are too bad to get to your workout location, have an alternate plan. Find an appropriate indoor location or exercise at home. Make plans for indoor and outdoor workouts.

■ Tune up your workouts with your favorite music. Invest in an MP3 player or other portable music device or listen to a book.

■ View each workout as having three components. Imagine a warm-up at the beginning, moderate to brisk exercise in the middle, and a cool down at the end. You will feel a sense of accomplishment after you finish each part.

■ Keep a journal. Recording your activities will help you focus on the progress you have made, not how far you have to go.

■ Reward your accomplishments. Determine an appropriate reward for achieving your fitness goals such as new gear or clothing.

Don’t let mud season get the best of you. Say goodbye to snow sports and embrace spring!

Riley Polumbus is communications specialist at Yampa Valley Medical Center. She can be reached at riley.polumbus@yvmc.org.

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