Getting back into exercise after a long break can seem daunting.
Whether you’re an athlete coming back after an injury or a casual exerciser getting back on track, the challenges are the same.
Here are some tips to get you started again:
1. Start slowly:
Don’t go all out straight away. A lot of people are ‘all or nothing’ and will try to do too much too soon, but this will just leave you frustrated or burned out. Your body has got out of the habit of exercising so starting again will be a shock to the system. You won’t be able to do as much as you perhaps could in the past, but if you were once fit, you will be again. Your muscle memory will mean you already have an advantage over a beginner.
And don’t be discouraged if you’re sore after your workout – the first day back is always the hardest.
2. Have a plan:
Find a workout plan on the web (bodybuilding.com have some great, free ones), ask a trainer at your gym or online or get a workout dvd. The best plans are progressive and will ease you in, before picking up the pace as you get your fitness back.
3. Make it fun:
There are so many different ways of being active, so there’s no need for exercise to be a chore. Pick something you enjoy, whether that’s weight lifting, running, climbing, playing a team sport or going for long walks in the woods. If you’re having fun, you’re more likely to stick with it and want to improve.
4. Be accountable:
Sign up to the gym with a friend, employ a trainer or commit to a block of classes. Having a standing appointment means you’re less likely to make excuses to miss a workout. At first it’s going to be hard, so having someone to answer to will help you stick to your plan.
5. Form a new habit:
It takes 21 days to form a new habit. You will have to force yourself at first, but if you get into a routine, after three weeks it’ll feel part of your life. In fact, if you do it right, you’ll miss it when you can’t exercise. I know that may seem unbelievable right now, but my clients report to me regularly that after a few weeks of training they can’t imagine their life without it and they feel so much better.
If there’s anything I can do to help you get back on track – by writing you a plan, seeing you for some training sessions or just giving you some words of encouragement – please email me at email@example.com