As the ground begins to thaw and the ice continues to melt, now is the perfect time to take your daily exercise outside! Exercising outdoors increases your Vitamin D intake, supports a strong immune system, improves mental health, and let’s face it… no one ever complained about getting too much fresh air. Instead of ditching your daily outdoor activities, it’s time to embrace the warming temperatures and learn to safely enjoy outdoor exercise in the spring!
Slips, trips and falls can lead to painful—and sometimes life-changing—injuries. While the spring season means warmer temperatures and more sunshine, it also comes means muddy, wet grounds, changing terrains and various weather conditions. After months of exercising indoors, it’s important to make a smart transition into outdoor exercise.
Plan ahead. Before you head outside, be prepared. Have a protein-packed meal, drink water, stretch and check the weather forecast. You can exercise outdoors in the rain or shine, but it’s important to know what you may encounter so you can dress accordingly.
Pace yourself. Your level of physical activity automatically increases when you are outside, so it’s important to pace yourself. Start with a shorter duration and distance and make a gradual increase as time goes on. It’s recommended to change up your activities and cross train so you don’t overwork yourself on one exercise.
Adapt to the environment. When you’re exercising outdoors, the conditions can change on a whim. You’re not in a controlled environment like a gym, so it’s important to watch where you’re walking to avoid trips and falls. The newly uncovered ground could have roots sticking out, slippery mud spots and some might even be covered in snow. Pay attention to your steps to ensure you can finish your activity safely.
Remember, you don’t have to start by running a 5K on the first day. “Exercising outside in the spring is a great way to stay healthy, but it’s important to do it safely,” says Dr. Jack Sproul, Orthopedic Surgeon. “I encourage patients to find something they enjoy and ease into it. Take a brisk walk or jog, go for a bike ride, take a hike, or even do yoga outside. These are all things that will strengthen your body and boost your immune system.”
When you take proper safety precautions, outdoor exercise comes with many additional perks—you work harder, spending time outdoors lowers your blood pressure, improves your mental health, saves you money, and produces cells that fight off infections, inflammation, and even lowers your risk of cancer.
The Dickinson Orthopedic Practice is here to heal your pain and keep you active, all year long. To make an appointment with the largest orthopedic and physical therapy team in the area, please call (906) 776-5432.
Jack Sproul, MD, is the newest member of the area’s largest orthopedic and physical therapy team at DCH. A graduate of Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio, Dr. Sproul is a board-certified Orthopedic Surgeon who brings high levels of bone and joint expertise to the Iron Mountain community. He provides care and healing to shoulders, knees, and hips, including injuries from accidents and sports. Dr. Sproul also specializes in total joint replacement in knees, hip and shoulders. Dr. Sproul is located at Dickinson County Healthcare in Iron Mountain at the Dickinson Orthopedic Practice.