Spring is the perfect time to get back on the workout wagon.
But just because the weather is nice doesn’t mean you should risk injury by taking off like a jackrabbit. Slow and steady, building up muscles and endurance, is important, says Liane Levy, owner of Burn 1000. “My suggestion is to begin with brisk walking, especially when the weather is gorgeous—get out there and enjoy it, especially after this winter,” she says.
Levy also is a proponent of swimming, biking, and slightly more vigorous exercise once or twice a week, such as a spin class. “If possible, incorporate yoga or pilates into your weekly workout schedule to help stretch your tired muscles and improve flexibility and core strength,” she adds.
Dale Huff, owner of NutriFormance Fitness, Therapy & Performance, agrees that variety can be helpful in jumpstarting a winter-stale fitness routine. “Schedule an entire week of different events and see what you like,” he advises. “From there, build in a schedule of one or two of these things to do with some consistency. If you have a specific result that you would like to achieve, then it would be best to consult with a professional before getting started.”
Proper rest between workouts ensures the body has time to recover and reduces risk of injury, Levy says. “Alternating your days of high-impact workouts with down days of yoga, barré or swimming will increase the longevity of your workouts and minimize the burnout factor,” she says. “I always recommend people take off two days and let your body recover. This helps eliminate injuries by not overworking the body. If not two, at the very least one day of nothing.”
Rest doesn’t mean losing momentum, though, and rainy spring weather shouldn’t be an excuse. “Have a backup plan for indoor exercise, whether it’s a fitness center, mall-walking, a piece of equipment for the home, etc.,” Huff says. “Often, it’s a few missed workouts that throw someone off their routine enough that it’s difficult to restart again. Or purchase a raincoat and go out, rain or shine.”
Another key to maintaining a good exercise regimen is accountability, and that involves finding a workout partner or trainer who will hold you to your word when it comes to workouts, adds Jamie Rothermich, owner of Functional Elements Training and Nutrition Center.
Rothermich, also a registered dietitian, emphasizes the role of nutrition in supporting a proper exercise program. “Good nutrition is one key to feeling better right away,” he says, adding that ridding the diet of processed and refined foods in favor of whole fruits, vegetables, grains and lean protein will help improve overall well-being. “If you start giving your body what it needs, you’ll have more energy for exercise,” he notes. Plus, a proper diet is the underpinning of weight loss, and losing fat will reveal the toned muscles beneath that you’ve been working so hard to achieve.