Summer is a time when many people panic about how far out of shape they’ve fallen over the winter and spring months. Perhaps we’ve been in denial that summer would ever appear based on the frigid elements we’ve braved for months. The fact is that summer is now officially here and there is no time like the present to work toward your health and fitness goals. As you scramble to get in shape, think twice about how you’re approaching your workouts.

Don’t be that girl (or guy) who tries to run a 15k without training in months. You will only be further behind, extremely sore and possibly injure yourself in the process. The last thing you want is to end up with an injury that interferes with your summer fun.

Here are 5 simple tips for safely getting back into running shape:

1. Stretch. Not only traditional “static” stretching, like our friend above, but consider using the Dynamic Warm-Up approach.

2. Hydrate. Make sure you drink plenty of water throughout the day, not just when your workout is over.

3. Pace yourself. If you’ve never been an avid runner, try a C25k (couch to 5k) program. Or, if you’re getting back to hitting the mileage you were once used to, there are a bunch of free apps at your fingertips that will guide you mile-by-mile.

4. Find the right kicks. Supportive footwear is essential all of the time, but especially when you’re exercising. If you have flat feet, find a running shoe that provides necessary arch support. Make sure you have solid ankle support to avoid sprains and strains. If you have put 1,000 miles on your current pair of sneakers, strongly consider investing in a new pair. Your PT can give you suggestions of proper footwear for your particular needs.

5. Consider adopting PT “check-ups”. There is a great amount of research now suggesting that annual or bi-annual PT visits really do help prevent injuries and guide you on the way to your fitness goals. Here is a great article making a compelling argument for annual visits.

Don’t forget! You don’t need a referral from your doctor to see a physical therapist in CT, along with many other states, and you can choose who you want to see! If you’ve had an injury hold you back in the past, see someone so that it doesn’t continue to do so. Also, if you have questions about Direct Access, call one of our 13 locations to find out how your insurance can help cover the cost of physical therapy.