Spring fitness: how to avoid overexertion and stay healthy

Spring is a season of renewal, and after the winter hibernation, many of us are eager to get back into exercise. 

Whether you’re planning outdoor adventures or prefer indoor workouts, it’s essential to approach spring exercise mindfully. We often see that some get very excited when the nicer days arrive but tend overdo it, and end up paying for it the next few days. Try to focus on playing the “long game” so that you can keep moving well into the fall and winter. Here are some tips to help you transition smoothly and avoid overexertion:

Start gradually

Don’t rush into intense workouts right away. Your body needs time to adjust after a period of reduced activity. Begin with low-impact exercises or shorter sessions, gradually increasing duration and intensity. Don’t forget to include warm-ups and cool-downs to make it easy on your heart and body, while potentially reducing stiffness or “delayed onset of muscle soreness” (aka DOMS). Whether it’s a brisk walk, light jogging, or gentle yoga, listen to your body and progress at a comfortable pace. This goes for any spring cleaning or chores outside. It’s easy to get carried away when you’re doing something that you love but the idea is that we want to build momentum.

Switch up your routine

Variety is key to preventing overexertion and injuries. Instead of doing the same workout every day, mix it up! Alternate between aerobic and strength training, as well as flexibility exercises. 

Cross-training not only reduces the risk of overuse injuries but also keeps things interesting. This is also very applicable to the things that we do on a regular basis and better assists with the change between our many “systems”. 

Rest days and quality sleep

Rest days are crucial for recovery. This is non-negotiable. Aim for at least one day of rest per week. Use this time to recharge, allow your muscles to repair, and reduce the risk of burnout. Quality sleep is essential for overall health and exercise recovery. Aim for seven to nine hours of restful sleep each night. It’s during sleep that your body repairs tissues and replenishes energy stores. Try to establish good “sleep hygiene” and routines to help your body know when it’s time to go to bed. 

Remember that progress also happens during rest, not just during exercise!

Listen to your body

Pay attention to how your body feels during and after exercise. If you experience pain, extreme fatigue, or persistent soreness, it’s a sign to dial back. Pushing through discomfort can lead to overexertion and injury, so avoid the “no pain, no gain” mantra. Be kind to yourself and adjust your workouts accordingly. Every day will be different and there are so many factors that contribute to our body’s ability to “perform” that day.

Hydrate and fuel properly

Spring weather can be unpredictable, so stay hydrated even during cooler days. Proper hydration supports muscle function and overall well-being. Keep a water bottle nearby and make an effort to count the number of bottles that you drink. Additionally, fuel your body with balanced nutrition and watch out for too many barbecue invitations. Unhealthy foods can slow us down and affect our function as well as sleep. This isn’t to say that you can’t enjoy some of these items, but try to aim for moderation.


Spring is a wonderful time to embrace physical activity, but remember that consistency and balance are key. Listen to your body, respect its limits and enjoy the process. 

Whether you’re walking, cycling or prepping your gardens, make spring exercise/movement a joyful and sustainable journey. 

Remember, it’s not about pushing harder, it’s about moving smarter, and your local FHT health care professionals can help out. Happy spring!

For more information about any of the free services offered by the Minto-Mapleton Family Health Team or to book a visit with a kinesiologist, visitmmfht.ca or call 519-638-2110. Like us on Facebook (Minto-Mapleton Family Health Team) and follow us on Instagram (mintomapleton_fht) for healthy living tips and information on upcoming programs and events in the area.

Nick Serafini is a registered kinesiologist with the Upper Grand Family Health Team.

Nick Serafini