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Member question: So how many days, at most, should you workout?

Weil: Again, it depends on, first of all, symptoms of over training. Some people can work out every day and be fine and others need more rest. It depends also on the type of exercise that you're doing, the frequency with which you do it, and the intensity. For instance, if you do moderate aerobic exercise such as walking or bicycling, and you get just warm and slightly out of breath during the activity, then you probably can do it every day. If, on the other hand, you do hill work or speed work to improve performance for road races, you need to build rest days into the workout.

If you weight lift every day, the chances are that you will burn out and need to take a break. It's really not necessary to weight lift more than three days per week with adequate rest between workouts, as long as the workouts are vigorous and hard. If you lift light weights and do high repetitions, say 15 to 20 repetitions, and perhaps you're doing this in an aerobic-type class, you would be able to perform these activities more than three times per week, but otherwise, heavy resistance training should be limited to two or three days, so that the muscles have time to recover.

Member question: Softball season will be here before you know it. Any tips you have for a 40+ something for getting ready for the season? I've given up on being a softball star; I'd just like to equip myself reasonably and reduce my chances of injury.

Weil: Great question. If you follow all these tips you will probably have a better experience this spring:

  • Start to do aerobic exercise to build endurance.
  • Begin some resistance exercise to help with performance, like swinging the bat or throwing the ball. The more strength the better, plus more strength may prevent injuries, particularly shoulder injuries caused by throwing.
  • Do some type of flexibility program, preferably combined with the aerobic activities. That may be a stretching routine right after an aerobic activity or something like a stretch class or even yoga. One of the more common injuries, particularly in activities such as softball, are pulled hamstring or quadriceps muscles, because people don't stretch, and the nature of the sport of softball is a lot of stop and quick start movements. So stretching in the gym will help limber the muscles.
  • Finally, prior to game time treat the game as a workout and warm up properly. That means maybe a 1/2-mile to 1-mile jog, followed by 10 to 15 minutes of stretching, particularly in the legs, and the stretching routine should be as close to game time as possible. One other method is to do an aerobic warm-up such as jogging, and then a few, maybe two to three, faster sprints -- not all-out sprints, but faster sprinting to get the legs prepared for the game.

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