Many of us know the value of getting regular exercise, but in the face of demanding jobs and personal commitments, we all encounter a number of challenges when it comes to maintaining our fitness level. Studies have shown that the so-called ‘weekend warrior’ lifestyle, which focuses on packing those exercise hours into your available weekend time, has the same beneficial health outcomes as a consistently active adult’s weekly routine.
If you enjoy the outdoors in Provo, Utah, then hiking or cycling in the nearby trails and canyons on the weekend is the perfect solution. But it’s important not to overdo it, or else you’ll be seeing orthopedic doctors before long. Here are some safety tips to keep in mind.
Plan your activity
Whether you’re just starting out or are well-versed in the outdoors, it’s always good to map your route ahead of time. Share it with friends and family, so they know where you’ll be. And keep in mind that sudden changes in the weather can make a familiar trail more difficult than you’re accustomed to.
Be prepared for emergencies
Apart from the weather, there’s always a risk of accidents happening along the trail. You may need to deal with wild animals, or help others in need. Observe all safety signs in your area, and follow the accepted code of conduct for Utah outdoor enthusiasts.
Every physical activity has its appropriate set of clothing and safety gear, and when you’re going for the intensity of an outdoor weekend warrior lifestyle, it’s even more important to dress appropriately. Wear reflective clothing, and bring lights if you’ll be out at night. Cyclists should always wear a helmet, and if you’ll be rock climbing bring along the necessary staples – rope, carabiners, and proper climbing shoes.
Warm up and cool down
As you head out, take the time to do some light cardio and stretching. This expands your muscles’ range of motion and lets you build your effort slowly. Make sure you cool down towards the end as well. Incorporating this into your intense weekend routine will help reduce the risk of injury.
Any athlete knows how important it is to be properly hydrated during the course of training. And when you’re going to spend a lot of time outdoors, managing your water supply is a vital safety consideration. Remember the old hiker’s maxim: head back before your water supply hits the halfway mark. For longer activities, don’t forget to bring food; energy bars or a prepared sandwich will give you a simple and healthy source of fuel as you go.
Get proper rest
Your weekends will be intense, but the weekdays in between are just as important to give your muscles time to recover. Get plenty of sleep; fatigue deprives you of the benefits of exercise and can increase the risk of injury. Listen to your body, and know when you can get by with just a massage and some ice, or when you should consult a specialist.
Keep up your activity
Granted, if your goal is to have intense exercise on the weekends when you have plenty of free time, then it’s probably because your weekdays are busy. But if you can find time to sneak in even a little cardio, stretching, or weightlifting, interspersing these small doses of varied exercise can help avoid muscle shock and maintain your good conditioning level.
Staying fit when you have a lot of work and family commitments can be a challenge. If you can do it safely, try joining the ranks of Utah’s outdoor weekend warriors and enjoy nature at the same time.