How to Ease Back into Exercise After a Break and What You Should Do When Starting a New Workout Regimen
Photo © Bruce Mars
It's never too late to get in shape (or back into it, for that matter). As daunting as the thought of seriously changing up your routine or how real the intimidation of working out can be, getting into a workout regiment can be easier than it seems.
Whether you're entirely new to exercise or you're bouncing back from a long break, here are five ways the transition back into your fitness routine can be a breeze.
Be easy with yourself
The number one mistake people make when they begin a workout plan is overdoing it. I know how badly you want to fit into the dress you picked out for your friend's wedding, or you're used to a rigorous, intense workout, and trying to punch out a HIIT (high-intensity interval training) routine, and not knowing when to stop.
The goal of getting back into shape should be about putting more movement in your day, even if it's just 10 minutes of aerobics a day.
According to Karena Wu, a physical therapist based in Miami, "[Short] low-intensity workouts are a good way to reintroduce the body to activity, frequency, and [endurance]."
When you've met an optimal goal, and you feel less challenged, change your routine and boost the intensity. But, before you do, take things slow. After all, taking things one step at a time is the best way to learn something new.
If you're doing something complicated like yoga, weight lifting, or running, pacing yourself is very crucial because your body's form is everything. Moving at a slow pace allows you to be more conscious of your movements compared to when you're just trying to see how many sit-ups you can do in thirty seconds on your first day.
Do something you actually like
When you're first getting into fitness, there are usually people who try to convince you whether it's your peers or online, that will recommend everything under the sun for you to try.
"Oh, I love Zumba!"
"I would be nothing without my spin classes!"
"You know how good they say yoga is for your mental health, right?"
Great ideas, but maybe what they are suggesting isn't for you. Find a workout you enjoy and stick with it. What's important aside from being in better health is that this is fun for you. Working out should be your time.
Warm-up and cool down
Neglecting a warm-up or quick stretch before working out is always wrong, and it's even worse when you haven't been physical in a while.
Your body is tight enough first thing in the morning so rolling out of bed and immediately forcing yourself to go for a run is a terrible idea. You and your body will be miserable.
A proper warm-up goes a long way, as it amplifies your heart rate and gets oxygen flowing to all of the muscles you're about to use for the first time or ever. It takes the edge off to make your activity go a lot smoother and helps prevent injury.
But it doesn't end there.
Cooling down means returning your heart to its normal, steady rest mode, and the stretching you do reduces that dreaded post-workout soreness.
Handle "rest days" carefully
Jumping back from a long time of inactivity may motivate you to keep going every single day, and that's great. But you have to learn to relax.
Rest days are not just for you to avoid having to run to the gym for a day. It's so your body gets the time it needs to repair itself and replenish the energy it utilises on a daily.
Take advantage of rest days to revert to lower intensity workouts to shake your body up without hurting it, or simply stretch. This will keep you on track and have you feeling even more ready to go.
Set realistic goals that'll keep you motivated
Setting goals for your workout regime are easier than you thought. It can be lowering your blood pressure or losing weight, to burning 500 calories a day. Whatever your hearts desires, plan accordingly but smart. Write your goals down and hang it somewhere that you know you'll look towards every day. Remembering why you're doing this makes it all the more meaningful. You can do it!