Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Fitness & Exercise

Font Size
A
A
A

Spring Back Into Your Exercise Program

After a long, lazy winter, the key is to start off slow.

Ready for Round One? continued...

Davis, who is also head team doctor for the Cleveland Barons Hockey Club, recommends that golfers start practicing at the driving range with slow and easy swings, and work their way up to a faster swing. Golfers, he says, should also incorporate stretching and strengthening into their exercise program to target the lower back, trunk, and arms, and should prepare for walking on uneven ground.

Tennis players, meanwhile, should concentrate their exercise program on the upper body -- work on stretching and strengthening the shoulders and arms, and should prepare their bodies for the stop-and-go pivoting and sprinting actions of tennis.

"People sometimes go out and serve the ball 100 times on the first nice day of the season, and then they come in with an injured rotator cuff or elbow tendon," he tells WebMD. "It is doing too much, too soon."

If you're a jogger, he says, you should start your exercise program with a walking regimen and from there, try to improve either your speed or mileage by about 10% a week. "Jogging 10% faster every week, or increasing your mileage by 10% a week, is usually a safe way to go," he says.

Preventing Pain and Strains

This all sounds like a lot of work before you even start the spring sports season. But without the right exercise program and plenty of preparation, you're at risk for injury.

"The most common injury we see is muscle soreness," Crites says. "A person will come in and say, 'I hurt here,' and it's usually their muscles being sore from too much activity, too fast."

If you do overdo it, RICE -- Rest, Ice, Compression (with an elastic bandage) and Elevation -- will usually help lessen the damage, according to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons. In all but very mild cases, a doctor should evaluate your injury and establish a treatment and rehabilitation plan, if necessary.

"If muscle pain lingers on for more than two weeks, or gets progressively worse, then they should have it checked out," Crites says.

There's a lesson here: After you prepare your body for spring sports, then spend the warm-weather months healthy and active, don't let it all go to waste by hibernating next winter. Stay strong for the next warm-weather sports season, so you don't have to start that exercise program all over again.

"First, you have to accept the fact that it is better to exercise on a daily basis every day of the year -- no matter how cold it is outside," Davis says. "The body can maintain a good level of conditioning year round if you practice a reasonable level of exercise. If you really don't want to go outside during winter, a stretching program is a good idea, or try a stationary bike or some form of home equipment, or join a health club."

Healthy Living Tools

Ditch Those Inches

Set goals, tally calorie intake, track workouts and more, all via WebMD’s free Food & Fitness Planner.

Get Started

Today on WebMD

Wet feet on shower floor tile
Slideshow
Flat Abs
Slideshow
 
Build a Better Butt Slideshow
Slideshow
woman using ice pack
Quiz
 

man exercising
Article
7 most effective exercises
Interactive
 
Man looking at watch before workout
Slideshow
Overweight man sitting on park bench
Video
 
6-Week Challenges
Want to know more?
Chill Out and Charge Up Challenge – How to help your tribe de-stress and energize.
Spark Change Challenge - Ready for a healthy change? Get some major motivation.
I have read and agreed to WebMD's Privacy Policy.
Enter cell phone number
- -
Entering your cell phone number and pressing submit indicates you agree to receive text messages from WebMD related to this challenge. WebMD is utilizing a 3rd party vendor, CellTrust, to provide the messages. You can opt out at any time.
Standard text rates apply

pilates instructor
Slideshow
jogger running among flowering plants
Video
 
Teen girl jogging
Article
Taylor Lautner
Article