This year saw a rollercoaster of activity in the fitness world. Lockdown brought a new push of fitness influencers and activities to try out with the extra time, but that trend soon passed as people gave up on trying to stay fit from home. But now it’s time to get back into it! Working gradually and diligently, you can rebuild the solid foundation of your best self by getting back into exercise after the many long months off during lockdown or the hectic times of the pandemic.
Listen to your body
The biggest piece of advice that you can take from this article should be to take it easy. Your body can’t just press a “pause” button on your fitness journey. It’s a hard stop. So when getting back into it, you have to listen to your body and what it is telling you, or you can get hurt.
Prepare your equipment and your body before you begin
There are loads of things that you can do to prepare yourself for upcoming intensive workouts. This can include completing an equipment check to “tidy up” your sports gear and try new things. For example, if you felt pain before lockdown when exercising, like knee aches or back pain, maybe it is time to update your performance shoes to provide the most comfort for your body.
To prepare your body for your workout, you need to warm up! You should make a point to warm up properly, whether it be doing pre-workout stretches, little exercises, or just starting a little slower. When thinking about your first couple of workouts, avoid overly intensive training like ultra-technical hiking or rough terrain. Just beginning to re-build strength with bodyweight exercises or going for some walks during your free time can get your body back into an active mindset. Don’t worry about being “not as fit as you were before,” most people take time to get back into it.
Diversify your workout
Getting back into a workout routine after time off is tough, but creating fun, diverse workouts can help make it more enjoyable and enticing! To look forward to your workout, think of the exercise you have missed most and then go and do it. Cardio is crucial to getting back into shape but getting back into it should be fun and exciting, not dreadful. You don’t just have to run every day to get cardio in. There are many workouts to try and incorporate into your routine that are a lot of fun.
If you haven’t jumped rope since 6th grade recess, get yourself a jump rope! This workout can be done anywhere and is a great way to get your heart rate up quickly. With the weather getting nicer in these upcoming months, head for a swim for a low-impact form of cardio that engages your entire body. And what about organized sports? Racquetball, for example, does a fantastic job in offering tremendous benefits to your whole body. The best part? It can be played by yourself or against an opponent, burns calories and fat, and strengthens your bones and muscles. So instead of dreading that run every day, play some racquetball or go for a swim!
What to focus on during your workout
Go easy on yourself. According to studies, jumping into workouts too fast can lead to muscle injury and prolong your break from exercise even more. Not only do you have to ease yourself mentally, but also physically. For example, if you are lifting weights, start at about 40% of your typical lift and stick to it for a while, even if you feel like you can do more. When running, don’t push yourself too much for the first couple of weeks. Ease yourself in.
Lowering your reps can also make you feel a little better. Don’t overly push yourself in the first few weeks by reducing the number of reps or length of workout to give your body time to adjust. Even taking longer rests can make things easier on yourself. You will be very fatigued when getting back into working out and won’t be able to go at the same pace you used to. However, make sure they are not too long because you can lose momentum and prolong or end the workout completely, which will set you off track. Stay engaged, but listen to your body.
Enjoy it as much as possible
As with anything you do in your life, the more you love something, the more you will want to do it. So whatever makes you like working out, whether it be setting goals, doing your favorite class, or jamming out to your favorite workout playlist or podcast, try to have fun when you get back into your fitness journey. It will help you stick to your plan and keep you active during your busy lives. Remembering that fitness and workouts are a place to grow and challenge yourself, not punish, can help change your mindset into positivity.
Take time to take care of yourself
With the new excitement of getting back into fitness, don’t forget to take breaks. It might feel like your body can work more but taking time to rest and recover is crucial for seeing results. Whatever your level, you will feel the benefits of recovery instantly, especially when you are getting back into working out consistently. Activities like stretching, wearing supportive gear, massaging, or even taking a day or two off from exercise can help rest your body and restore it for future exercise and keep you at optimal performance.
Along with taking days off, pay attention to how you are fueling your body. Spend more time focusing on your nutrition, ensuring that you give your body what it needs to support you during your workouts.
Getting back into exercise can be daunting when you’ve barely left the house in a year, but taking these steps and easing yourself into workouts will set you up for success!