It happens all too often, someone who appears healthy suddenly gets injured when participating in an infrequent game of their favorite outdoor sport, hike through the woods, or canoe trip down the river. Outdoor activities are a great way of keeping fit and active, but if you’ve been sedentary over the winter months, jumping into a lot of activity too suddenly can produce painful results.

There are a lot of benefits of starting an indoor exercise program prior to the summer season. And, if you’re considering joining a ball league or starting a new outdoor hobby, indoor exercise can help prepare those muscles for the workout you will be experiencing outdoors.

Workouts done during winter months are often using different muscle groups and parts of the body than what you experience in warmer weather. Avoid ongoing repetition of the same exercises and start gradually testing new workouts that will use the muscles and ligaments that will be challenged with your summer sports.

“Just Do It” Doesn’t Always Work

You may want to play serious baseball all summer, but if you haven’t been getting your body ready for the physical challenges of this, you can do some major damage by just jumping in and doing it without some preparation. Talk with a fitness expert about the body motions and muscle groups that will be used, and whether you should target specific exercises or activities that will help you prepare for the sport. Casual practice a few times is also better than going all-out during a serious game; one hard-played game could set you out for the entire season if your muscles aren’t ready for it.

Consider Cross Training

Pro athletes do this, so why wouldn’t you? Cross training is combining workout variety into one training session, which will help improve your conditioning. If you’ve been doing a single type of exercise during recent months, introducing variety challenges your body to the next level of fitness. It also helps reduce injuries because you are not over-working one area of your body; you can let one area recover while still working other areas that are beneficial to your overall improvement goals.

Gradually Build Towards Endurance Training

Endurance training is just that – enduring a lot of specific physical activity for a long period of time. Think of a marathon runner or a triathlon racer – neither of these athletes jumped right into an all-out race until they properly trained and built up the length of time to perform that activity safely. Endurance training can be a great motivator, because you have a specific long-term goal, and the challenge associated with that can sometimes be enough to keep you motivated.

Have a great summer, and enjoy it all the more by combining the right indoor exercises with outdoor activities so your body lasts all summer!