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The best part of spring (aside from shedding all the layers) is the ability get back outdoors and get active. Spring sports, whether they be a local 5k or a new soccer season, require plenty of preparation. In order to make sure you’re ready, here are five tips to prepare you for spring sports:

  1. Set Goals: The most important thing to do before embarking on any athletic endeavor is to set a goal. The goal can be as simple as making the team or completing the race, but without a goal, it’s next to impossible to remain in a positive mindset. Think about what’s truly important to you, write your goal down on a piece of paper, and create a training plan or calendar to meet those goals. Place it somewhere you’ll see every day, and commit to accomplishing it.
  2. Update Your Equipment: A new spring means it’s time for some new equipment. Updating your equipment can help ensure your safety throughout the spring. Get a new pair of running shoes, some new cleats or a nicer pair of shin guards. It is an expense, but the alternative of potential injury simply isn’t worth it. To view sporting equipment available at your local Meijer, click here.
  3. Hydrate Often: Hydration is crucial to avoid cramping and dehydration, which can dramatically hinder performance. Not only do you need to hydrate while exercising, but also throughout the day. While drinking eight, eight-ounce glasses of water is a good rule of thumb, you may need more depending on the intensity level of training, extreme weather conditions, and individual body needs. Should you be doing more high-intensity training, purchase a sports drink with plenty of electrolytes (sodium, potassium, magnesium, calcium) to keep your muscles working at peak performance.
  4. Eat Properly: Nutrition is key when it comes to an active lifestyle. Food (mainly carbohydrates) is the fuel you use to perform, making your meal choices one of the most important parts of reaching your goals. Be sure to consume protein within 30-60 minutes after training to maximize your muscle recovery. Try mixing a variety of lean meats, dairy, nuts and seeds into your diet. For ideas on how to eat properly throughout the week, click here.
  5. Work Hard: It sounds cliché, but you’re never going to accomplish your goals if you don’t work hard. Put in that extra set, run that extra mile or do that extra drill in order to make sure you’re doing everything you can to be the best you possible. When you finally do accomplish your goal, you’ll be able to take pride in all of your hard work.

Don’t just dive into spring sports this year without any preparation. Make sure to set some goals, update your equipment, properly fuel your body and work hard. If you do those things, you’d be surprised by what you’re able to accomplish.

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