With the sun shining and temperatures rising, many of us are thinking of getting in shape for summer's pleasures. For millions of women, long-distance running or strenuous walking is the key to keeping fit.
But before you lace up the sneaks and hit the hot pavement, here are a few tips from the experts at Team In Training?, the world's largest endurance sports training program.
Keep Your Feet HappyBuy correct-fitting workout shoes and proper socks. Pay attention to not only the length of your foot but also the height of your arch and your pronation--the amount you tend to roll your foot inward. Also, because your feet swell during a workout, try on shoes after a workout or later in the day to get an accurate fit. Many athletes wear a running shoe that is at least half a size larger than their dress shoe size.
If you are participating in a marathon or other event, break-in your new shoes at least three to four weeks before the event.
StretchNot stretching properly before running, walking or biking is one of the surest ways to cause injury. Always stretch slowly and without bouncing; ease your body into the stretch. Hold the stretch until it gradually becomes more comfortable. Get to know your specific muscle groups and pay close attention to problematic ones when stretching. View some helpful stretches here.
Respect the HeatChoose the cooler times of day to exercise outside and wear light, loose-fitting clothing. Early in the morning or late in the day, just before dusk, are good times to get outside. Or, choose a shady course, out of the sun, if you must practice in the middle of the day.
Avoid DehydrationLearn to drink water or reputable sports drinks--but be careful not to over-hydrate. Replenish fluids according to your sweat rate and drink six to eight ounces of a sports drink or water at least every two hours throughout the day to prevent dehydration.
Team In Training? has plenty of other advice to give. Just go to www.teamintraining.org. And while you're there, find out more about the program. Team In Training? offers exceptional training and preparation for more than 60 accredited marathons, half marathons, triathlons and 100-mile bike rides in the United States and abroad.
In return for four to five months of training, great teammates and free airfare and lodging at an event, participants help The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society raise funds for cancer research and help patients with leukemia, lymphoma and myeloma.
Visit www.teamintraining.org or call (800) 482-TEAM for details.