Spring is here and with the weather warming up, means we’re getting ready to spend more time outdoors. Whether you are getting back in to your old routine or picking up a new activity, it is important to remember to take things slow at first because your feet and legs can be susceptible to injury from not using them as much during the winter months.
Exercises that require repetitive motions can cause achilles tendonitis, plantar fasciitis, shin splints, and possibly a stress fracture if you are not prepared. A couple of easy steps to follow for prevention are:
Warming Up & Stretching
Make sure you are warming up and stretching before beginning. Warming up helps to increase circulation, body temperature, and bring your heart rate up. Simple cardiovascular exercises can include jumping jacks, arm circles, lunges, squats, and briskly walking.
Stretching will help to prevent injuries to your muscles. You will want to make sure that you do your warm ups first, because working out with cold muscles could increase your risk of pulling something.
Some easy, gentle stretches can be simple yoga poses, hamstring stretches, tricep stretches, pulling your knees to your chest, butterfly stretches, what ever is easiest for you. Typical warm up sessions can last 20 to 30 minutes, giving your body plenty of time to gradually prepare for physical activities.
Choosing the Proper Footwear
You will want to make sure that not only do your shoes fit comfortably, but that they also provide the proper amount of support and stability. Most orthopedic shoes feature a deep heel cup that helps to stabilize your foot during exercise. You will also want to make sure you have the proper arch support for your feet depending on your arch type. If you are unsure of your arch type, you can take the Wet Test to find out! Some footwear features a semi-rigid or rigid arch that provides maximum support, while others feature a cushioned arch support for enhanced comfort and shock absorption.
If you already have a favorite pair of shoes, think about adding an orthotic insole to help give you the stability and support you need. You can use our Insole Guide to help you choose the right insoles for your specific needs.
Cooling down will help lower your heart rate, breathing, and body temperature back to their pre-exercise levels. Cooling down will also help your blood recirculate through your body preventing your risk of fainting or dizziness. It will also help to reduce muscle spasms, cramping, muscle soreness, and stiffness. The cooling down period should typically last 5 to 10 minutes and include some less intense exercises and stretching. Make sure that while you are stretching you are targeting the muscles that were being used while working out.