GET READY FOR SPRING TRAINING

With MLB spring training officially underway and a spring-like forecast for this week combined with the sun remaining high in the sky past 5:00 PM, it’s the perfect time for individuals of all fitness levels to embrace the rejuvenating spirit of spring. Whether you’re a seasoned athlete or someone just starting their fitness journey, spring offers the ideal backdrop to kickstart a new routine. It can kickstart your routine after a lull from the cold, dark days of winter; the bleak abyss between the holidays and the fickle weather of late February and March.  So if you are ready for a change in routine, check out the tips below on how anyone can join the MLB in taking their workout outdoors, fostering a healthier and more active lifestyle.

Set Realistic Goals:

Before you step outside, take a moment to set realistic and achievable goals. Whether it’s increasing your daily step count, running a certain distance, or mastering a new outdoor activity, having clear goals will give your training purpose and motivation.

Choose Enjoyable Activities:

Spring training doesn’t have to mean grueling gym sessions. Embrace the beauty of the outdoors by choosing activities you genuinely enjoy. Whether it’s hiking, cycling, jogging, or playing a sport, finding pleasure in your workouts will make them more sustainable in the long run.

Invest in Proper Gear:

As you transition from indoor workouts to outdoor training, ensure you have the right gear. Invest in comfortable and breathable clothing, supportive footwear, and any necessary equipment for your chosen activities. This will enhance your performance and prevent injuries.

Start Gradually:

Spring is a time of renewal, and your training routine should reflect that. Begin with moderate intensity and gradually increase the duration and intensity of your workouts. This approach allows your body to adapt, reducing the risk of injuries and making the process more enjoyable.

Embrace the Beauty of Nature:

Take advantage of the blooming landscapes and warmer weather. Choose parks, trails, or scenic routes for your workouts. Being surrounded by nature not only enhances your physical well-being but also contributes to mental and emotional health.  And as Steve Chandler writes in his book, Crazy Good: A Book of Choices, it can take a good workout to a great workout!

Include Strength Training:

Spring training isn’t just about cardiovascular exercise. Incorporate strength training to build muscle, improve metabolism, and enhance overall fitness. Bodyweight exercises like squats, lunges, and push-ups can be done outdoors without the need for specialized equipment.  Some county trails have strength training equipment along their paths for an added bonus while getting your steps in.

Stay Hydrated:

With rising temperatures, it’s crucial to stay hydrated. Bring a reusable water bottle with you during workouts and sip water regularly. Hydration is vital for performance, recovery, and overall well-being.  If you don’t like plain water, you can find pitchers with infusion sleeves where you can add citrus, berries, various herbs or cucumbers.

Connect with Others:

Consider making spring training a social activity. Invite friends or join outdoor fitness classes in your community. Exercising with others can be motivating, making the experience more enjoyable and fostering a sense of community.

Some communities have free classes at county or local parks. Check your community’s website for information. Or maybe your friends enjoy going to the winery or various breweries?  Many now offer yoga classes or 5K runs; grab your friends and get moving!

Prioritize Recovery:

Don’t overlook the importance of recovery in your training plan. Adequate sleep, proper nutrition, and stretching play a vital role in maintaining overall health and maximizing the benefits of your outdoor workouts.

Refer to the note above regarding local communities with workouts – some have yoga in the park, but my favorite is yoga on the beach!  If you are local to the New Jersey area, there is a great class in Wildwood behind the Convention Center on the beach.  Last year, each class was $5 and holding warrior pose while gazing at the waves can be transcendental in more ways than one!

Track Your Progress:

Keep a record of your activities and progress. This not only helps you stay accountable but also allows you to celebrate achievements, no matter how small.  There are a plethora of apps out there or smart watches to choose from.  Recently, my smart watch broke and I didn’t realize how much I had come to rely on it as a motivator to keep moving.  While I wasn’t keen on spending the money on a new one, I did notice a difference in my routines without one.  Monitoring your journey can be a powerful motivator.

As the days get longer, the air warmer, and spring gardens are planned, take this opportunity to rejuvenate your fitness routine. By setting realistic goals, choosing enjoyable activities, and embracing the outdoors, anyone can create a spring training plan that not only improves physical health but also enhances overall well-being. So, lace up your sneakers, step outside, and let the season inspire your journey towards a healthier, more active lifestyle.

 Written by Kelly Reising who is passionate about nutrition, fitness and health. 

Dr. Mc Millan is a Board-Certified orthopedic sports medicine surgeon practicing in the Virtua Health System of south Jersey.  For more information please visit www.drseanmcmillan.com or follow us on X @sportsdrsean and Instagram @dr.seanmc

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