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CHARACTERISTIC – Grass grows, trees bloom and birds chirp. Spring is officially here! This is the perfect time to re-evaluate your fitness goals and reinvigorate your step. EatRight.org has five great tips for refreshing your spring fitness routine.
To eat. Sometimes when we start a new fitness routine, we forget how important food is to maintaining the routine. Food is fuel. Refueling with the right foods is an important part of any fitness routine.
A good rule of thumb is to eat 1-3 hours before exercise. It is better to combine proteins and carbohydrates. You can try peanut butter and a banana, oatmeal with low-fat milk and fruit, or Greek yogurt with berries. Avoid foods high in added sugars just before your workout. These types of foods will give you energy, but it will wear off quickly.
Drink. Staying hydrated is just as important as giving your body the right fuel. It is best to drink water throughout the day and especially in the hour before exercise. Drinking is the only way to rehydrate and cool your body from within.
Stretch. Sometimes you might be tempted not to stretch. Warming up and cooling down through stretching is essential to a successful workout routine. It prepares your body for exercise and also gives your body a chance to slow down. Your risk of stiff, sore muscles is reduced when you stretch properly.
It’s best to start with dynamic stretches like lunges, squats, or arm circles to warm up your body. Static stretches, where you extend a specific muscle group and hold the stretch, should be kept after a workout when your body is already warm. To learn more about stretching and exercise safety, Click here.
Go slowly. Starting slow and working your way up to your goal is the best way to get comfortable with any exercise routine. If you go too hard or too fast right from the start, you’ll likely end up too tired, sore, or injured to continue your exercise routine. If you need ideas to start your new exercise routine, Click here.
Rest. Exercise actually causes tiny tears in your muscle fibers. Your muscles need time to heal these tears and rebuild. Make sure you get enough sleep when you start a new exercise routine.
You can also consider varying the type of exercise you do to prevent certain muscle groups from being overworked. For example, if running is your go-to exercise, be sure to add some cross-training into the mix by biking, swimming, or weight training a few days a week.
Follow these five tips for a successful fitness routine and to reinvigorate your step. You’ll be on your way to being healthier, fitter and happier in no time.
Overnight oats is a great recipe to try when getting ready for exercise. It combines whole grain oats and healthy carbs to fuel you through your workout. Enjoy!
Written by CANDI MERRITT, Certified Nutrition Education Ambassador.
This article was originally published on April 18, 2016 on USU Extension Create a blog for better health.
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