I just heard a robin. I think we both know what that means: spring is around the corner! After turning the page on a long, cold, and snowy winter (hopefully we’ve turned that page, fingers crossed) it is refreshing to see so many people exploring the great outdoors to achieve their fitness goals. In the past three days I’ve seen walkers, bikers, skateboarders, joggers, and families strolling about with small children. This transition between indoor and outdoor exercise is a great time to reevaluate fitness goals and make sure you’re truly prepared for outdoor activities. Here are my five reminders as you get out of the fitness center and into the parks and trails.
1. When was the last time you changed shoes? Remember, you should change shoes every 300-500 miles. For many, this turns out to be about every six months. If you’ve been training more that could mean every three months. You decide but make sure your shoes are in shape too! Out of shape shoes won’t help keep you in shape. Also, shoes can be a great motivator for working out. Case in point:
2. Tread carefully on the trails! While most of the ice and snow are gone, there may be occasional slick patches on sidewalks and trails. In addition to ice, there is a lot of mud everywhere and that can be bad news for bikers especially.
3. Don’t forget to use sunscreen! I think many associate sunscreen use with the beach or the pool. Truth be told, you need it year round and now that you’re baring your legs and arms, you especially need it to prevent sun damage. I believe the key to a youthful appearance is protecting your face so make sure to use a daily moisturizer with some SPF. Also, a good pair of shades to protect your eyes. My colleague was joking today that she had been wearing her shades all winter to protect her eyes from the cold. It does make a difference! I’m never without my shades as evidenced by many photos where you can’t see my eyes.
4. Remember to dress in layers! While it might be 60 degrees when you start your run, once the sun goes down it will cook off quickly.
5. Wear a helmet. I must repeat, wear a helmet! I know several people who don’t wear helmets when they bike. While this is an individual decision, I’m definitely batting for the “wear a helmet” team over the “I don’t want to mess my hair up” team. Your noggin is both precious and fragile. Call me a geek but I even wear one when I’m Rollerblading around Gray’s Lake. Get outside and soak up the Vitamin D you’ve been missing all winter long. What activity are you looking most forward to now that spring is upon us?