While we all have the best of intentions to exercise regularly and stick with it, sometimes life gets in the way. Whether you take some time off due to injury, a hectic schedule, a long vacation, or just go through periods of not feeling it, you can get back into a good exercise groove. You just need to approach it the right way.
Diving into a complicated routine or high-intensity training is usually not the best route to take – especially if you were sidelined due to injury. If your time off was medically related (i.e. injury, illness, having a baby, etc.), it is critical that you get the green light from your doctor to begin participating in physical activity again. Once you feel ready to get back into it, here are some helpful tips to help you start working out after taking time off.
Know Your Starting Point
In addition to being ready physically, it is also important to be ready mentally. Getting back into exercise after taking time off can create anxious feelings for some.
Thoughts such as “What if I can’t do what I used to do?” or “What if I look silly?” can be discouraging, but it is important to remember that getting fit is not a linear journey. Just because you could perform at a certain level at one point and no longer can, it does not mean the exercise no longer “counts.” Your body wants to move and will benefit from any movement – it’s just important to give it the type of movement it needs, and to give yourself grace in the meantime.
If you are going to begin working out again safely and effectively, you have to be honest with yourself about where you are at. Trying to jump back into high-intensity exercise after taking a long period of time off can feel discouraging, and can be dangerous. Try not to get bogged down by what you used to be able to do. Your body changes every single day, and it is important to honor where you’re at in this point in time.
Begin Incorporating Low-Impact Movement
If you’re unsure what exercises you should start with, I recommend putting one foot in front of the other. That’s right, I’m talking about walking.
Walking is by far one of the most beneficial, highly functional exercises you can do, yet it is incredibly underrated. While walking doesn’t provide the intense calorie burn that sexier, high-intensity workouts do, walking is an approachable way to help your body get re-acclimated to movement. In addition to being a great source of cardio, regular walking may help boost immune function, ease joint pain, and even help reduce cravings for sweets.
Gradually Keep Building
Once you have been able to incorporate low-impact movement into your day for two or more weeks and are feeling good, it might be time to gradually keep building and performing movement that feels good to your body. Maybe that means you start attempting push-ups with one knee on the ground instead of both. Maybe that means you start incorporating a yoga class or lifting light weights. Continue assessing how your mind and body are feeling and take things one day at a time.
There are those who love routine, and then there are those who love variety. According to wikihow.com, a gym membership will keep you in shape, but doing the same exercises day after day, in the same place day after day, can get a little dull for some. Added to this, you have to pay for a gym membership – those that love variety can learn how to get fit and in shape while working out in many locations, and mixing up their workout routine every day. There are a number of ideas that will get you fit, without losing a cent, and even some that can even earn you money, as long as you’re willing to do the work.
Volunteer and exercise at the same time
If you’re still going to spend some time exercising, why not do something for others as well? Join an environmental group and plant trees, gather the garbage, build homes, or whatever feels right for you.
At the end of the day, you’ll know that you’ve helped others, not just yourself and you’ll certainly feel better about it! Nowadays, there are many runners that workout in groups. That’s because seeing more people going through the same motion makes them more competitive and can even increase endurance levels.
Find the right group for you, where you’ll socialize as well as lose weight doing it. Once again, the Internet is a marvelous place. Start your day with a healthy juice and put your mat in front of your laptop. Half an hour of yoga in the comfort of your own home will save you the time spent on the road to the gym and make you feel like you can take on the world!
This usatoday.com article notes that we love apps because they can easily be installed on our cell phones and are designed to remind us when to drink water or calculate how many calories we’ve lost. They can even be used for workout motivation purposes. There are a lot of free apps that actually give you money if you lose weight, or that keep you going by telling you that zombies are right behind you. Who wouldn’t run from those creatures? So, these apps are funny and useful, at the same time.
Sitting down for 8 hours a day will take its toll on your body. Besides gaining weight, your muscles cramp, your back will hurt and your neck will become stiff. Make adjustments to your work zone by lifting your laptop onto a higher table. This will allow you to stand up most of the time, which will improve the blood flow and reduce varicose veins. Also, you can add a treadmill in front of your laptop, so you’ll keep moving and walking throughout the day.