Although you can't really tell (thanks Columbus)...Spring is on the horizon. Which means we can all come crawling out of the depths of our heated blankets and giant coats and finally
(F I N A L L Y) go outside!!!
While there are a multitude of ways to exercise outdoors, there are a few things to keep in mind no matter what your exercise may be. So whether you'll be jogging, bike riding, hiking, landscaping etc, read these tips before you venture out for some much needed Vitamin D.
1. Keep track of your running volume and increase by 10% per week. Nearly 75% of running injuries come from adding volume too quickly! Simply, use the extra energy that the spring time gives you to support a healthy level of running with strength and flexibility work to prevent overuse injuries.
2. Make a plan to track progress! Training can improve body composition, bone mineral density, cardiovascular health, blood pressure, energy levels, etc. Having a plan to track progress can start as simply as taking progress pictures and exercise notes. To get even more advanced with tracking progress, try a DEXA scan or a VO2 max test at the start of your training.
3. Adopt a [P]Rehab strategy. Outdoor endurance activities such as running, cycling, hiking, and recreational sports involve highly repetitive movements. A strength and flexibility routine can help support the body’s ability to recover and adapt to the new outdoor training stimulus. This can help improve running form by targeting weak muscle groups. Furthermore, appropriate stretching and strengthening can help you avoid injuries.
4. Support your outdoor training with nutrition and hydration. Training in the heat requires a greater effort to stay hydrated. While the body is not used to training in the heat, it is particularly at risk of dehydration. Additionally, calorie balance is a vital part of achieving fitness goals surrounding outdoor training. Getting a RMR test is one way to find the base level of calories you are burning per day. Working with a Dietitian, you can use this RMR number and daily activity estimates or measurements to determine the ideal nutrition strategy for your training.
5. Make it fun! While it may be fun to go out for a run on the first nice spring day, your training may become more monotonous over time. Having the support of a friend, training group, coach, or gym family may help you stick to your training goals long term.