With the arrival of warmer weather, there is much more opportunity to begin to get out and take advantage of activities that were set aside over the winter months such as gardening, biking and walking or jogging. You may have spent the winter months doing other cardiovascular activities indoors or have continued to enjoy the outdoors with running or skiing. Hopefully, you have also been accompanying this with a regular strength training routine and if so, you have likely seen some great improvements over the winter in your strength and muscle tone.
As you shift gears to outdoor activities, you will want to be sure you don’t undo all the progress you have made over the winter by completely abandoning your regular fitness program. We often convince ourselves that we don’t need the regular routine that we stick to religiously throughout the winter months, believing we are more active in the spring and summer months, however, this is not always the case. While we may do more walking and gardening in the spring and summer time, many of us get away from our strength training programs or any intense cardio that we may have been doing over the winter in favor of these less strenuous activities that, while they may be enjoyable, do not give us the same fitness benefits. Many of the strength gains and cardiovascular improvements we have gained over the winter can quickly be lost if this is the case.
While you may certainly want to substitute some of your indoor cardio for outdoor activities such as running or cycling, be sure to keep up on a regular strength routine to maintain the many benefits you have achieved. Participating in a regular strength program three to four times per week has many benefits including:
1. Builds Strength – you will see regular gains in your physical strength when you participate in a regular weight training program.
2. Helps with Weight Loss/ Weight Management – in addition to building strength, increasing your muscle mass can assist with weight loss as muscle burns more calories than fat even at rest.
3. Increases Bone Density – regular weight bearing activity can help to increase bone density and prevent osteoporosis.
4. Injury Prevention – Strong muscles can help prevent injuries such as falls and can also help you to recover more quickly when injuries do occur.
5. Increases in Performance – Regular strength training can improve your performance in your other activities. Whether you play a sport, enjoy running or other such activities, strengthening your muscles will lead to improved endurance and power.
6. Increased Energy – an increase in energy level will also be noted if you are following a regular program of strength training. It will boost your energy level and leave you feeling great while looking good too!
Whether you take part in strength training classes, workout in the gym or follow a home strength training program, be sure to keep up with your routine even as the warmer weather arrives. Add in some new outdoor activities as the weather permits and even consider taking your strength training to the park using body weight exercises or exercises uses props found outdoors such as park benches (for dips) and playground equipment (for chin ups, etc.)
Keeping up your healthy and active lifestyle year round will make you stronger, healthier and happier so keep up the great work for the months to come!