Summer is coming and you are ready to start moving again. If you have been a couch potato for the last few months it is time to thaw out – the hibernation is over! It is normal to feel a little stiff and creaky after that winter slumber so take it easy. Many injuries occur when an eight-mile hike up Mount Si catches de-conditioned muscles unaware. Start slow on your activity and ramp up during the summer so you take on more and more challenging activities.
The first step to get the kinks out is stretching. We truly can’t emphasize this enough! Start a daily 10- minute stretching routine now along with minerals to aid muscle contraction. A combination calcium-magnesium supplement is extremely important for working muscles to prevent cramping and some soreness.
The next step is to look at the activities you are planning on engaging in this summer, for example; hiking, kayaking, water sports, gardening or cycling. Think about the major muscle groups that are involved. Take kayaking as an example; upper body muscles and core/abdominal strength are very important.
Starting training those muscles at home or in the gym, before it’s time to get out in the kayak with simple exercises you may already know. Or, ask your naturopathic doctor or a qualified personal trainer about how you may build up the strength and endurance in the muscle groups that you will be using the most.
It is important to be well trained and have the proper muscle strength before you take part in your favorite summer activity so that you are able to spend time enjoying yourself, and not end up sore and miserable on Monday (or worse yet, back on the couch).
The final step is to make sure that you are properly fueled and hydrated. Depending on the length of your chosen activity you will need to plan to have foods containing complex carbohydrates and lean protein, and ample fluids. If you are sweating heavily and the temperature outside is quite warm you may consider adding an electrolyte product (i.e. Nuun) to your water.
Remember, this is supposed to be fun. Those outdoor activities can be an inexpensive way to enjoy your day with friends and family. Going to the hospital will definitely defeat that purpose. Following the above steps can keep you in the sun and out of the clinic.
Dr. Elizabeth Thybulle is a naturopathic doctor and Dr. Lanika Buchanan is a naturopathic doctor and acupuncturist. Health Moves, 17311 135th Ave. NE Ste. C-800, Woodinville, WA 98072 Phone: 425.402.9999 or www.HealthMoves.org