Practical Steps for a Return to Exercise
If you've made the decision to return to exercise after taking some time off, congratulations. Perhaps you've been unable to exercise for health or physical reasons. Whatever the circumstance, if it's been a long time since you last worked out then you probably already realize that you can't simply return to your previous fitness routine at the same level you left off without risking injury. Easing back into your exercise regime will require a little planning and discipline, and a willingness to gradually work yourself back up to your prior level. The good news is, there are some practical methods you can employ to avoid injury and make the transition easier. We've listed a few of them below.
The Mental Adjustments
- Put short term goals in place. When you return to exercise after some time off, success will come one day at a time. Start things out by committing to exercise, even for a short time, every day.
- What motivates you? Think about why you have decided to get back to exercising and always keep it in mind. Perhaps you are rehabbing an injury or trying to lose some baby weight. Whatever the case, keep your motivation foremost in your mind.
- Learn to be patient. Getting back in shape is not going to happen overnight. On the plus side, if you have had a history of exercising, your road back to fitness may be faster than for those starting from scratch.
- Think about the future. Don’t beat yourself up for quitting exercising in the past. Look ahead to the future and how fit and healthy you will become.
- Adapt to changes. You are not the same person you were when you quit exercising back in the day. Your career, schedule, and health may have changed dramatically, so create a routine that works for you now.
- Create a revised to do list. Cut back on sedentary activities like watching TV or playing on your phone to make time for physical activities.
- Ask for help. Instead of trying to go it alone, ask a friend or family member to join you in your fitness journey, even if that means just having someone to help motivate you.
- Photograph yourself. Taking pictures of yourself on a regular basis will clearly show you the progress being made over time. Likewise, look for changes in your resting heart rate or the time it takes you to walk or run a certain distance. Any improvements are great.
The Physical Adjustments for a Return to Exercise
- Consult your doctor. Talk to your doctor first if you have been sedentary for an extended amount of time. He or she can help you choose exercises and activities that work for your current health and fitness levels.
- Ease back gradually. Move slowly when returning to an active lifestyle. Run shorter distances and use lighter weights, all whole moving up in 10% increments per week.
- Don’t forget to rest. Your body needs time to recover, so plan off days when putting together your exercise schedule. Also, make sure that you are getting plenty of sleep.
- Eat a healthy diet. Unless you are performing extreme endurance training, you will find that exercise has little impact on the number of calories you need. Stay hydrated and eat healthy foods.
- Try different activities. Cross training is a great way to avoid injures while building your conditioning. Multiple activities also help you avoid getting bored and losing motivation.
- Train efficiently. If you have a busy schedule, seeing results quickly is a must. Take a look at the benefits of interval training and you will see that alternating between low and high intensity exercises in extremely beneficial.
- Change up your routine. Its always a good idea to stay up to date with fitness tips and trends. Some exercises are now considered to be unhelpful, while kettlebell training and indoor cycling classes are now very much in style and helpful.
Keep Looking Forward
Almost everyone understands that with regular exercise, we will look and feel better, and we may even live longer. Sometimes, for a variety of reasons, we fall off the fitness wagon. Often it's unavoidable. But, once you've made the decision to return to exercise after having been less active for an extended period, it's important to forget about the past and get motivated for your healthy future. Start slow. Work your way back. And in no time you'll be back on top of your fitness plan like you never left it.
RX Fitness Equipment Is Here to Help
If you're easing back into your fitness program after a long layoff and you'd like to discuss it with a professional, RX Fitness works with hundreds of coaches, personal trainers, and nutritionists. We'd be happy to refer you to one who can help. If you're looking for a great selection of fitness equipment and accessories of all kinds, we carry the top brands to fit every goal and budget and we're here to make your fitness routine more productive. Stop by our store in Thousand Oaks or give us a call. And don't forget to check out Tim's best-selling book, Fitness Equipment – A Shopper's Guide, available at Amazon and other online book sellers as well as in our store.
Contact Tim Adams for a free consultation or stop by the store and take something for a test drive. We’re here to help.