Fall is a great time to become more active: the kids are back in school and the air is crisp and inviting. The outdoors beckon, and if you’re not ready, you could suffer a few set-backs as you adjust your activity level. Here are 6 tips to keep you strong and healthy as you enjoy the outdoors.
You would warm up prior to a tennis match or swimming laps. The same applies to some typical Autumn activities including; tackling the leaves in your yard, taking a hike in the mountains, or moving a load of fire wood. A good warm-up can prepare the body for activity and lower the risk of injury. A warm-up should consist of some easy, full-body repetitive movements—walking is a great start. Be sure to also include some gentle stretches for quads or hip flexors to shore-up your “usual” imbalances.
#2 Clothes matter
Fall can bring a spectrum of temperatures. Mornings can be rather cool, but the day can warm significantly as the afternoon approaches. Wear layers of synthetic clothing so you can shed layers as you get warm. Remember this specific type of material also has the added benefit of drying rapidly. Being dry helps prevent you getting chilled during and right after rigorous activity, (especially during those wonderfully cool breezes.).
#3 Ease in to it
If you haven’t been training for an activity like hiking, golfing or biking, ease into it and make your first outing short and even consider building in some breaks. Becoming injured after working in the yard is a common complaint this time of year. Another helpful tip is deciding beforehand how long you will work on a project to prevent yourself from over-doing it.
#4 At the first sign something doesn’t feel right, STOP!
It’s easy to get “on a roll” when doing yard work or playing golf. You feel that first twinge. Maybe it’s a low-level ache, or even a familiar muscle starting to complain. That’s the time to stop so you can live to play another day.
#5 Water! And lots of it.
In the cooler months, we can forget to hydrate. Keep water with you and drink often. Staying well hydrated can delay fatigue, prevent cramps and detour excessive muscle soreness the next day. The general recommendation is to drink when you’re thirsty, take in more than you think you need, especially when being active.
#6 Do a cool down
After you blow or rake leaves, go for that vigorous hike, or play the third round of golf, go through your stretches or mobility exercises such as a knees-to-chest stretch, torso rotation or hip flexor stretches. This will help restore muscle balance, (especially after a repetitive movement like raking leaves) relieve tired muscles, and aid in relaxation.
No matter what kind of activities you enjoy during the fall, these 6 tips will help you stay healthy and moving all season long.
To learn more about exercises that support your fall pastimes, contact us.