Warmer Weather Calls for Active Bodies

Lots of sunshine and longer days provide more opportunities for the entire family to enjoy the outdoors and get active. Running, biking, and walking are all great options as the weather turns from winter to spring, but it’s important to ease back into these activities to prevent any strains or injuries.

“Often people become less active in the winter months, making them prone to more risks of an injury if they are bouncing back into an activity they haven’t done in a while,” said David Pohl, DO, primary care physician and sports medicine specialist at McLaren Greater Lansing Family Medicine North. “If you were running 10 miles per week last year and stopped through the winter, start with 2 miles and work your way back up gradually through the spring and summer months to avoid getting hurt.”

Exercise and staying active is vital for people of all ages. Children and teenagers are encouraged to try to get at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day, while adults should aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity cardiovascular activity per week. 

“Getting these levels of cardiovascular exercise can reduce the risk of being diagnosed with some medical conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and even certain cancers,” said Dr. Pohl. “Exercise can help control weight, improve your mood, and improve your sleep.”

Although everyone has varying levels of activity and exercise tolerance, walking can be a great way to stay active, and with nicer weather, it can be easy to do outdoors. Those looking for more of a challenge can seek hiking, running, biking, and recreational sports.

“Even for those who find walking difficult, I encourage you to discuss exercise options with your physician,” said Dr. Pohl. “We can look at more seated or stationary activities to help progress back toward walking. This can include water aerobics, tai chi, and chair exercises. All in all, any kind of movement is important for your overall health and body.”

To avoid injuries, including sprains and strains, Dr. Pohl suggests always starting with a good warm-up that includes stretches before and after your activity. To avoid overheating and dehydration, drink plenty of water and wear moisture-wicking clothing to keep you cool and dry.

For questions or to make an appointment with Dr. Pohl, click here.

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