As the weather improves, many people feel more and more drawn to playing games, walking, biking and exercising outdoors. Those can all be healthy ways to have a good time but if you only do them occasionally, you could end up feeling stiff and sore the next day. Fortunately, you can have your fun and not pay the penalty if you heed these seven suggestions from experts.
Create a Routine: Dr. Derek H. Ochiai, an orthopedic hip surgeon, and sports medicine expert, says, "The key is to build at least mild fitness routines into a regimen at least two to three times a week to maintain general fitness so that you can do the fun stuff on the weekends."
Start Slow: "A weekend warrior can maintain a healthy balance in his or her fitness routine by including two to three minutes of yoga breathing and movement techniques that prepare the body for more activity," adds yoga therapist Veronica Zador.
Mix It Up: "Instead of spending 150 minutes doing one activity like running, consider a combination of activities such as run-swim-run on Saturday followed by a bike ride or volleyball game on Sunday," suggests Dr. Bradley Thomas, an orthopedic surgeon. "This will help spread the stress of your workout over multiple body parts rather than overburdening one area."
Keep Stretching: "Sore muscles are a product of hard work," explains personal trainer Bob Talamini. "To reduce muscle soreness, I recommend engaging in a combination of light- to low-intensity movement with a good mobility stretch routine."
Stay Hydrated: According to fitness expert Jay Jordan, "Your level of hydration is critical to minimize pain as well as optimize performance, so extra electrolytes taken for 48 hours prior aids in minimizing aches and soreness.''
Get Hot: Heat therapy increases the flow of oxygen to the affected area that's in pain. "When I have an arthritic day, just using heat--keeping the joint warm--has really been helpful," says Pam Shriver, the award-winning tennis pro, and ESPN tennis broadcaster.
Go Topical: So suggests Dr. Aristotle Economou, author, and acclaimed Beverly Hills physician. "Acetaminophen has a narrow therapeutic window, meaning the difference between a safe and effective dose and an overdose, which could lead to liver toxicity, is a relatively small increment in milligram consumption."