7 Ways to Jump-Start Your Spring Training

Did you decide to cozy up on the couch during winter instead of heading to the gym or outdoors to work out? Now that spring is here, it's time to enjoy the nice weather and longer days. If you are intimidated by going back to the gym or joining your morning running group because you took time off, here is a plan to get you back on track:

Don't expect to start out where you left off. Just because you were running five miles six months ago doesn't mean you can still do that. Start your workouts slowly with less mileage, less time and a decrease in intensity. This gradual increase in activity will prevent injuries, burnout, and feeling overwhelmed.

Wait to incorporate speed, intervals or longer workouts. By adding speed sessions and longer workouts too soon, you increase your chance of injuries. Start with building your cardiovascular endurance and gradually increasing the length of your workouts. After a few months of consistent workouts, you should be able to pick up the speed.

Find a routine you can follow. Pick an activity you enjoy and one you will stick with. Otherwise, you may end up right back on that couch. Try a new sport or a new class to broaden your activity horizons. Remember, any activity that increases your heart rate is fair game when it comes to exercise.

Make time for your workouts. Consistency will make exercise become a habit instead of a chore. Take a critical look at your daily routine and identify the best time to schedule your workout. Put this time in your calendar like any other meeting or appointment you might have. Remember, your health is as important as any other meeting in your busy schedule.

Buy yourself new workout gear. Who doesn't feel great after getting a new pair of shoes or outfit? The same applies with workout gear. Not only will this provide some inspiration to work out, but it can enhance and make your workouts safer. Pick your gear based on the activities you will be performing, not based on the brand name or how it looks.

Focus on hydration and your diet. Now is the perfect time to start reevaluating your diet and hydration needs. By staying hydrated and eating balanced meals, you will have the energy and stamina to conquer any work out.

Listen to your body and know your limits. After months of inactivity, a mindset of "No pain, no gain" can lead to injury and overtraining. Listen to your body. Injury is a sure fire way to derail your motivation to work out again.

Kristin Gustafson is the Exercise Science and Wellness Coordinator for the Exercise Science program at Rasmussen College in Eagan, MN. She has an M.A. in Exercise Science, Exercise Physiology, and Cardiovascular Rehabilitation. She has worked in the fitness field for over 10 years. Her experience includes working in wellness centers and cardiac rehabilitation facilities, teaching group fitness classes, and being a personal trainer and running coach.

Founded in 1900, Rasmussen College is a premier provider of online educational experiences, dedicated to the growth and development of its students, employees, and the communities it serves. Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, Rasmussen College offers Bachelor's and Associate's degrees in fields with the greatest occupation opportunities. To learn more about Rasmussen College, please visit www.Rasmussen.edu

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