Spring has finally arrived in Rochester. The robins have returned, tulips are stretching their green leaves through the soil, hibernating animals are waking. Do you feel a renewed sense of energy? You’re not imaging it. Although Americans celebrate January 1 as the beginning of the new year, nature recognizes spring as the true start to a new year.
Are you ready to make some healthy changes? Now is the time, especially if your plans include getting more exercise. We’ve spent the winter hunkered down, conserving bodily energy and finding comfort in warm clothing and heavy foods – a sort of hibernation for the modern human. When spring arrives, there’s almost a feeling of seeing the world anew. Overnight the grays and whites of winter are replaced with the verdant green of fresh grass, a dazzling blue sky, the pinks, reds, blue and purples of the season’s first flowers. It is only natural that humans, too, suddenly feel urged to spend as much time as possible outside after an interminable winter. So get outside and stretch those muscles!
How do you start a springtime wellness journey? First, start slow. After weeks of snow and freezing rain and frigid temps, a sunny day in the 50s might inspire you to play 18 holes on the golf course or run a few miles. However, if you haven’t been exercising all winter, you run the risk of injury. Take a long walk or limit your run to a mile or two. Try nine holes before you tackle an entire course. See how your body feels after a trial run before you resume the levels of physical activity you were at at the end of the summer.
If you’re starting a new healthy habit, set your starting goal low – walking around the block twice a week, for example. Once you’ve reached your first goal, set a higher goal. Sound familiar? That’s because research shows that setting incremental goals is more effective than setting one large goal. You’ll feel a sense of accomplishment more often, and it will be easier to pick up where you left off if you miss the mark.
Don’t forget to stretch! No matter what you have planned for the day, make sure to find a few minutes to stretch your limbs and muscles. Your fascia and your body will thank you.
Finally, make sure to stay in tune with your body. Do your joints feel extra creaky after the winter? Did your back feel stiff after spending an hour working on your garden? Does your knee feel sore after a long hike? If you’re feeling aches and pains after enjoying the fresh air – or if you want to prevent those – schedule a massage therapy appointment with me. I can help you get ready for new physical activity and show you some moves to do at home.