Has it been a while since you last exercised? No problem… whether you’re now ready to get back into it after an injury, illness, a run of late nights at work or festive season nights out, you’re likely to be a little apprehensive about taking that first step back through the studio door.
Whatever the reason, the good news to consider is that taking a break from your exercise programme can sometimes be a blessing to your nervous system, (especially if you lean toward high intensity workouts) in bringing down stress levels. Also, if you had a regular routine before your break and are generally an active person, you’re likely to be able to go weeks without losing overall strength, according to a study published by Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise.
Here are our top tips to getting back to exercise:
First thing’s first… determine why you stopped.
Maybe it’s simple: socialising, work, holidays… But if your reason is something bigger you might need to troubleshoot that first. For example, if you’ve been working late into the night on a regular basis (this one our lawyers will relate to) then the key is to look at classes in the morning. This will go a long way to helping you cope with the long day ahead and keep stress levels at bay. It’s all about finding those little pockets of time and prioritising your wellness. Harness in help where you can – perhaps you don’t have childcare, ask a friend to help and take her for a coffee afterward or return the favour when she needs to dash to the supermarket. Be creative to find those solutions.
Consider how you want to feel.
… No, we did not mean, how you want to look. You’re probably not alone if your initial need to exercise is for physical change. It’s always better to reframe the superficial (“I want thinner thighs”) with a feeling (“I want to feel more confident”). This creates a long-term, realistic goal. The end result? You create a lifestyle – a way of thinking about anything around you, therefore ensuring the concept (your goal) sticks.
Don’t try to move from zero to hero in a week. Getting back to any exercise should take a progressive approach. Going faster and harder will only lead to potential injury and muscle soreness. Choose easier classes and give yourself a break between workouts allowing time for the body to recover. Start by doing half as much as you did previously and work your way up steadily.
Change your slant.
Boredom can set in with even the most dedicated people – consciously or unconsciously this can have a huge impact. If you’ve always been an avid runner, try mixing it up with Pilates or Yoga. It’s often the types of exercise we find hard that our bodies needs most. If you struggle to touch those toes in yoga, then relieving tightness in the hamstrings and glutes is probably exactly where you need to start. You don’t have to stop doing what you love, just integrate other exercises. You’ll find that they can often compliment what you do. For example, golfers will find greater control through their swing with the core strengthening benefits of regular Pilates.
Enjoy the process & leave the judgements at the door.
Don’t be hard on yourself for not being able to hit the same levels you were at previously. It’s time to embrace renewed challenges. Enjoy the first time back in crow pose or not taking a break through that core climbing series. Build on this and give yourself new challenges so you can avoid comparisons with the past (that plank hold is always a good one). Then take a moment and be grateful that you’re got that second chance.