By: Caleb Magoon
It’s spring and boy is it nice to have some wonderful sunny days, even if it’s only a few. Our inkling is generally to get right out there and get after our favorite activities. The bike comes out, we lace up the running shoes or hiking boots or put the kayak in the water. Tough to resist, right?
Yes, go out and do those things. But I encourage you to exercise some caution. This is a dangerous and injury-prone time of year for several reasons and it’s important we slip into spring activities slowly. Few of us get the same activity level through the winter and spring as we get through the summer. Spring is probably the worst for me because once the snow goes, my ability to cross-country ski, snowshoe or do other winter-based fitness activities goes away. My fitness level, in general, is low.
That said, I sure do want to jump on a bike. I’ll want to bike like I did in the fall, though physically my body has changed quite a bit in the last few months. It’s important that you go easy during those first couple of rides, runs or activities. The last thing you want is an injury to stifle your spring and set you back well into June or later. Make sure your first activities are shorter and easier than your max or even your average. Ease your way into activity and be ginger while finding your limits.
Make sure you are making healthy choices leading up to your first activities. Ensure your fuel levels match the activity you have chosen. Eat enough before the workout and drink more water than you think is needed.
You may not be much for stretching, but if you ever took a swing at it, this is the time of year. Look up a few Youtube videos of dynamic stretches. They’re super easy and only take a few minutes. Post workout, you should also stretch or use a foam roller to roll out your muscles. This will speed your recovery.
Lastly, be aware of your body and if you feel pain or discomfort, stop activity immediately and take a couple days off. If it feels like a bonafide injury, consult a doctor or physical therapist. Above and beyond all else, go slow and easy!
One more note about easing into spring: We need to not only protect our bodies, but also our recreation assets. Roads and trails are particularly tender this time of year and can be damaged quite easily. This applies not only to mountain biking and hiking trails, but also access roads to bodies of water etc. This time of year is when we can do the most damage to trails. Please don’t hike or mountain bike until local experts give the “all clear”. Consult the Green Mountain Club for hiking trails and the Vermont Mountain Bike Association to find your local chapter if you don’t know them. I know the wait is tough, but it’s essential to ensuring these recreation assets don’t need repairs, taking them offline during the best parts of the year.
Have a great spring!
Caleb Magoon is a Hyde Park native who grew up hiking, hunting, biking and exploring Vermont’s Green Mountains. His passions for sports and recreation have fueled his career as the owner of Power Play Sports and Waterbury Sports. Caleb encourages outdoor activity and believes it is an essential element to a healthy lifestyle and the Vermont way of life. Caleb serves the Lamoille Valley by volunteering on numerous community boards such as the Lamoille County Planning Commission, The Morrisville Alliance for Commerce and Culture, Mellow Velo, and the state chapter of The Main Street Alliance. He lives, plays and works in Hyde Park with his wife Kerrie.
Thanks Caleb for the great advice. I took my bike out this weekend and it felt Awesome! I knew I would not be at the level I was last fall, but I was surprised how well I did. Keeping up with exercising during the winter and early spring certainly helped me this year.