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Spring Training Tips

After a long winter of practicing your chosen sport, you might want to get outside and train as soon as the weather improves. You may also be tempted to exercise at the same level you did at the end of the last season. But such enthusiasm often leads to early season injuries. If you changed your routine for the winter, you need to get back into shape gradually. Here are some helpful hints as you head out the door this spring.

    * Slow but Steady. Try to get some exercise 3-4 times per week on alternate days. One of the best ways to get injured or sore is to go hard all weekend and do nothing during the week.
    * Monitor Your Exertion Level. Use the perceived exertion scale, the talk test, or the heart rate range to help you determine an appropriate intensity level. Stay at the lower end of the scale (11-13) and build up over several weeks.
    * Gradually Increase Your Training. Increasing training (mileage, time or amount of weight lifted) more than 10 percent per week increases your risk of injury. To avoid this, increase your training gradually over the weeks.
    * Follow a Training Program and Keep Records. A good way to build back up to optimal fitness, it helps to establish a training plan and stick with it. There are many training programs for all types of sports and having one is not only good motivation, but it helps keep you from doing too much too soon.
    * Cut Yourself Some Slack. If you took the winter off, don't expect to be back to peak fitness immediately. There's plenty of summer left, so don't worry about going a bit slower in the beginning.
    * Train With Others at Your Fitness Level. If you can find a few people with the same fitness level and goals as you it can help kept you progressing at a good pace. Training with those who are farther along will only encourage you to overdo it, get injured or feel “behind” in your training. Workouts with more fit people can be motivating and help you improve, but only after you have a good solid base to work with.


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