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Springing Out of the Gym into the Sun? Take Time to Thaw Out

from Reuters

Fitness warriors eager to step out of the gym at the first sign of spring should exercise caution, fitness experts say, noting that hitting the open road is more taxing than running on a treadmill, and mountain trails are bumpier than a spinning class.

Even conditioned people may need a period of adjustment to transition safely into working out in the open air.

"The harsher the winter, the more we have to be careful not to come back too fast, too soon," said exercise physiologist and running coach Tom Holland, who lives in Connecticut. "Even people who are generally fit might do less over the winter."

When the weather changes, Holland said, many runners try to run too many miles too soon.

"The body generally takes about two weeks to acclimate," he explained, "so give yourself time to build back that base of strength."

He recommends that regardless of what was done outdoors last fall, a little less should be done in the spring.

"Running on a treadmill is generally easier than outdoor running, so if you've been running five miles on a treadmill don't increase (outdoor) mileage immediately," he said.

And cross-training should not be neglected.

"Just because the weather gets nice, doesn't mean we eschew the gym," he said. "Strength training is a big part of being injury-free."

Chris McGrath, senior fitness consultant for the American Council on Exercise said too many people doing their winter cardio on a treadmill assume they can transition seamlessly to running on the ground.

Pavement is harder than the belt of a treadmill and the mechanics of running are slightly different. more

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