Ready for Summer?

Take Some Time to Prepare Your Body for a Summertime of Healthy Outdoor Activities.

Sunny days and clear blue skies bring many outside to enjoy summer in Chicago. Moving from an indoor, sedentary period to an active outdoor season requires a shift in body movements and cardiovascular demands. Taking time now to prepare your body for warm weather activities will allow you to perform better and decrease the risk of injury.

Below are components of fitness to consider for an active summer.

Flexibility: This often overlooked aspect of fitness is essential. Tight muscles are prone to muscle pulls and strains, and may increase joint and soft tissues stress. To mitigate these risks stretching is helpful.

There are two types of stretching: static and dynamic. Static stretching is holding muscles and joints in a position; typically, 20-30 seconds at a minimum, but sometimes three minutes or more. Static stretching is most effective after activity when your body's warmed up. Dynamic stretching involves movement that is done at a slow controlled pace and should closely mimic movements of an activity, such as swinging a golf club or tennis racquet. This is best done before playing.

Cardiovascular Fitness: How well does your heart, lungs, and organs consume, transport, and use oxygen? The more cardio fitness you have, the less out of breath you get. Activities that improve cardio include walking, jogging, biking, swimming and hiking. There are two types of cardiovascular training: steady state and interval training. Steady state training is moderate continuous effort sustained for 20 minutes or more. Interval training combines alternating short and fast bursts of intense exercise with slower, easier activity. it’s best to do a combination of both.

Muscular Strength: With age muscle is lost and strength declines. Performance deteriorates and the risk of injury increases. The best way to combat this is through strength training. Strength can be improved at any age. Through only a couple workouts per week you can improve your strength, as well as fitness, performance and overall health.

Muscular Endurance: Many outdoor activities require some level of endurance. The better your endurance the more resistant your body will be to fatigue and the longer you’ll be able to perform a given activity. Muscle endurance can be built through various forms of cardiovascular training or weight training; anything that requires you to move muscles for extended periods of time will improve endurance.

Agility: If you play tennis, pickleball, basketball, or anything that requires you to start-and-stop your movements quickly, jump, sprint, twist, and turn or /change your direction of motion frequently, agility exercise is esssential. In a nutshell it’s your ability to rapidly change the position of your body in space with speed and accuracy. Agility exercises that mimic the movements of your sport will prepare your body to handle the stresses and strains of the sport, improve balance and coordination, and reduce your risk for injury.

Summer is here. When you engage in your favorite outdoor activities for the first time in several months proper preparation is essential. New activities can produce sore muscles, joints and injuries. Proper conditioning will keep you in the game and off the sideline. Take the time now so you can do the things you love all summer long.

 Sean Lee has spent 23 years in the health and fitness industry as a speaker, author, and founder of Restoration Fitness, Lake Zurich’s award-winning personal training studio. Visit RestorationFitness.com or call 847.847.1837 to schedule a complimentary consultation.

When you engage in your favorite outdoor activities for the first time in several months proper preparation is essential. Proper conditioning will keep you in the game and off the sideline.

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