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How to Get Back into Exercise After a Long Break

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We all know exercise is part of living a healthy lifestyle, yet so many of us don’t. Some of us haven’t started, others have started and for one reason other just fell out of the habit of exercising. Perhaps, never really made exercising a proper habit to begin with. Whether you’ve been forced into a long break from exercising because an injury or just a lack of motivation, there’s things you can do to ease yourself back into it.

First up is to eat right because as Kira Jaine of LiveStrong.com advises, it could be a poor diet that leads to people lacking exercising in their life because when your body lacks nutritional nourishment, you won’t have the energy to give you the stamina to keep on pushing yourself. If you were keeping fit before then fell out of the habit, think about how your diet may have changed in the days leading up to you stopping.

Did it influence your change? If so, that’s proof that a poor diet choice will lead to poor lifestyle choices.

Nail your eating habits first because it’s responsible for 80% to 90% of you successfully sticking to a healthy lifestyle or not. Then ease yourself back into exercising with these…

yoga mat

9 Tips to Ease Yourself Back into Exercise

  1. Start with one song

There’s no need to go forcing yourself into a treacherous sweat inducing HIIT session needing a ten-minute warm-up routine that has you knackered before your half hour workout begins. That’s far too much when you’re getting back into the swing of things. Ease yourself back into by exercising at home first for the duration of your favorite tune. Indoors or outdoors, just play the tune and get moving. One song is all it takes.

Just like toothbrush songs get kids to brush their teeth right, there’s motivational music for adults to workout with. One of the many benefits with exercising to music is disassociation, helping you push past fatigue. That’s why every gym always has music playing. Try it. Dance, walk, skip, jump, do pull ups, press ups, burpees or whatever takes your fancy.

  • Join (or start) a fitness social challenge

All fitness trackers and some smartphone apps let you connect with friends and exercise together. It’s like the buddy system people use to go the gym because it makes it more fun, only without the downside that one person stops, both quit. To make your exercising social, message your friends and find out who’s up for a one-month fitness challenge to achieve ____ you decide, but keep in mind that healthy weight loss should be done by only a couple of pounds per week, so don’t start challenging groups of people to lose 10 pounds in 30 days.

  • Don’t go back to traditional exercising just yet

Not all exercises need to be exercising. Exercise is just any activity that raises your heart rate beyond it’s normal. Basically, anything you do that makes you sweat, makes your heart beat faster and causes you to breathe heavy – is exercise.

What could that be?

Roughhousing with the kids

Wii Fitness: Go skating, roller blading, cycling, or ski, right in your living room.

Got a dog – play frisby

Got a ball – play kicky ups

Or join a dance class – you’d be surprised. Here’s 10 types of dancing for women and another 20 ballroom dances for couples. Take your pick of exercising, and partner if you want, and get moving.

  • Start with therapeutic exercise for the mind and body

Therapeutic exercising can be taking a yoga class, Pilates or Gyrotonic. Exercise needn’t be hardcore and if you aren’t ready for heavy hitting workouts, ease into something that’s therapeutic that’ll help lift your spirits by trying an exercise routine that promotes a healthy mindset. Just like nutrition is a huge part of your success or failure, so too is your mindset.

  • That Fun Thing Couples Do is Exercise Too

Rolling around under the covers with your partner is as effective an exercise as a moderate half hour jog.  A handy one to use as a backup plan on your off days.

  • Pass the Ads

If you’re one to use the excuse of not having time, consider that the average TV show has five commercials breaks, averaging a few minutes each. If you you have the time to watch one show a day, you have time to slip in an easy 9-minutes of exercising daily just by getting up off the sofa.
If you don’t have a gym mat, make your rug work double duty and use that. Fitness Magazine list ten exercises perfect for the ad breaks. Pick some, design your own routine and burn calories instead of your eyes.

  • Take up a social sport

Social sports include running, walking, and pretty much anything with a ball. Companies run leagues, while communities organize events. The reason people sign up is not for the competitiveness, but for the group dynamics.

  • Have a good reason to do activities you enjoy

Whatever sport or exercise routine you decide on, start with the right reasons. Reasons that you know you’ll be able to stick with. That should be to improve you for you, not for anyone else. Just like addicts of anything need to want to change, so does everyone need a good why before they’ll be able to make any life lasting changes.  

Pick something you know you’ll enjoy and start doing that. Something easy, that can be done fast, or at least time flies when you’re doing it like an hour long dance class that feels so good you don’t even realize it’s been an hour. When you take up any exercise that you can get into the zone, time flies, because you can only get into the zone when your heart’s truly in it. Being in the zone is nothing to do with the target heart rate zone, but rather the state of mind you’re in.

Group of mature healthy people doing stretching at park
Group of mature healthy people doing stretching at park. Fitness middle aged group exercising outdoor. Three happy people in a row doing stretching arm and smiling.
  • Be SMART with your goals

This one’s a prerequisite for sticking to and achieving anything worthwhile. As Chris Ryan tells MyFitnessPal, setting goals is great, but making SMART Goals is how to increase your odds of success.

SMART is acronym that stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-Based. In other words, set a specific goal that you can you can use an app on your phone or a smart watch that lets you measure your progress. Provided it’s attainable, you’ll be able to track your fitness progression. Making it relevant to your health and fitness needs will ensure you’re actually feeling the benefits as you continue exercising. Making it time-based, you’ll be able to improve in the area you start with, then set another SMART goal and go through the stages again until you reach your next goal. Rinse, repeat, rinse, repeat.

Get back into exercising gradually, doing activities you enjoy, for good reasons that you’ve given serious thought to. Over time as you begin to feel healthier, you’ll naturally build a tolerance and up the ante into more moderate intensity exercises, or increasing your time, maybe both.

The important thing is to start somewhere. The less strenuous, the easier it’ll be to ease your body back into a healthy active lifestyle.

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