With the harsh, relentless winter our nation has had, spring will be a welcome relief in more ways than one. Just getting outdoors more often in temperate weather is a treat for much of our nation!
In general, physical activity and outdoor activities pick up in the spring. You may be getting ready to start your garden, or you may be beginning lawn-mowing season, taking kids to and from their sports practices and games, or going outside for a brisk walk, run or bicycling excursion. You could even be brushing up on your golf game or even doing your annual spring cleaning around the house.
Whatever it is, though, make sure that your flexibility is up to whatever your “spring training” task is so that you don’t jolt your body too much after a winter that may have kept you inside more—and moving less—than you wanted.
For starters, before embarking on that “to do” list, make sure you stretch before and after. That can help your body be limbered up for your springtime activities and maybe keep any setbacks from occurring.
Likewise, there are certain foods that can support flexibility. In fact, Personal Trainer Today Magazine points out that consuming a diet high in green leafy veggies may help in that area. Adding greens such as spinach, kale, chard, collard greens and sea veggies to your meals each day can help boost muscular flexibility due to the high water content of these veggies as well as their ability to get rid of acids in the body.
One of those sea veggies, spirulina, can especially support increased flexibility, says YogaFinder. Helping to increase muscle strength and to prevent cramping, this algae is packed with vitamin B12, beta carotene and gamma linolenic acid, and can allow you to add some additional “stretch” capacity and greater flexibility.
While we’re at it, we're also aware that the increased activities or renewed training or workouts during spring can make our bodies "feel it." That’s why it’s good to know that there are some plant-based systemic enzymes that can help provide relief from everyday aches and pains we encounter—whether from overdoing it from training, gardening or lugging kids around. For example, the enzymes bromelain (pineapple extract) and papain (papaya extract), natural pancreatic enzymes trypsin and chymotrypsin and the antioxidant flavonoid rutin join forces to help fight unhealthy inflammation levels, to promote joint health and more.
In fact, Dale Kiefer, author of Promoting Optimal Nutrition with Digestive Enzymes, says that systemic enzymes make excellent alternatives to NSAIDS, or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, since they produce certain analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects. By reducing inflammation, enzymes may help you get a better, pain-free workout.
So, stay flexible—and enjoy an active spring!