3 ways to ease back into exercise

spring-exercise-t469740241During the winter, it’s easy to become a couch potato. The short, cold days and snow and ice keep many of us away from the gym for months. Now that summer is just around the corner, you may be ready to hit the treadmill or stationery bike again.

Unfortunately, many people get injured when they’re starting a new exercise routine—or increasing the intensity or duration of an existing one. Here are three ways to get your muscles ready for the gym, according to the American Physical Therapy Association:

Squat: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, then slowly come down into a squat position like you’re sitting back in a chair. Lean forward and keep your back straight. Keep your knees together and pointing straight ahead. Squat down, pause, then slowly come back up. You can use your arms to counterbalance your legs, but make sure your feet are firmly planted on the ground.

Bird dog: Kneel down on your hands and knees (like a dog) and make sure your spine is in a neutral position (the natural curve in your low back should be present). Draw your belly button in toward your spine. Raise opposite arms and legs and hold the position. Stay as still as you can.

Dead bug: Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet on the ground. Your arms should be raised up, pointing toward the ceiling. Bring your legs up so your feet are pointing toward the wall (at a 90-degree angle). Extend one arm back and straighten one leg. Pause, then return to your starting position. You can also reach back with just your arms or only extend your legs. This exercise will strengthen your abdominal muscles, which protect your lower back.

For more information, or to come in and see one of our physical therapists and create a customized exercise routine that will help you ease you back into working out, contact us here.

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