Warm temperatures and sunny days add up to spring fever and that means getting outside and becoming more active after a long, sedentary winter.  Your list of outdoor projects has probably moved into the priority pile.  The urge to get your bicycle out of the garage or take an afternoon nature trail hike is growing.  You might even be thinking about some of those New Year's resolutions to get into better shape in 2010. 

Whatever the case may be, it is important to make sure you are ready for more strenuous physical activity.  Here a few tips to help you get off to a good start and prevent aches and injuries.

Start slowly and don't try to do too much too soon.

Whether you are working outside or just working out you may be tempted to push yourself after the winter break.  When it comes to getting back into shape, slow and steady wins the race.  Overdoing it will likely result in sore muscles that could set you back both physically and mentally.  It is better to start slowly and work your way up to a full day of gardening or a complete exercise routine.  By taking your time, the strength and stamina you build up will pay off in the long run!

Take a break and stay hydrated.

Allow time for breaks and call it a day before you become completely fatigued.  Remember to drink lots of water which helps keep your electrolytes balanced.  More than 50 percent of the average human body is made up water.  When you exert yourself through strenuous activity and exercise, your body loses fluid through perspiration.  Dehydration can be a serious condition that causes muscle cramping among other physiological problems.  So replace lost fluids with water or other hydrating beverages.    

Check out summer gear and equipment.

Take an inventory and inspect your outdoor gear including clothing to make sure it is in good working condition.  A new gardening hat can protect skin from damaging ultraviolet rays.  Make sure you have footwear appropriate for the activity.  Check to be sure bicycle tires have the correct air pressure and helmets and kneepads are still in good shape.  Remember to inventory protective gear for children, too, because they can grow quickly.  Don't forget the sunscreen. 

Source:  Nicole Peritore, Get Moving Kentucky coordinator