How To Start Exercising Safely After A Long Break

How To Start Exercising Safely After A Long Break

If you took a long break from exercise during COVID-19 and want to start back up, you are not alone. Many people adhered to lockdown measures, staying home as much as possible. Unfortunately, lockdowns and the fear of contracting COVID-19 caused many people to avoid exercise, even if an outdoor space was available.

Returning to your old training regimen is not going to be a walk in the park. In fact, fitness experts suggest that you ease in to an exercise regimen to avoid injury. After a year of not working out, for example, you will most likely have lost your progress. That means you shouldn’t expect to warm up with the starting weight you remember. It’s so easy to injure yourself if you rush into exercise after a long break. Going too hard can increase the risk of shin splints, tendinopathies, and other overuse syndromes. It’s all about the slow build, no matter if you work on cardiovascular or strength training exercises. 

The body is an amazing creation and it has the ability to rebuild strength, provided your general health isn’t in a dramatic decline. Start with the right training method after your period of inactivity. Always listen to your body to avoid pushing it into a state of discomfort. Pay attention to warning signs, including tightness, pain, or limited range of motion, and stop if these things occur. 

Manage Expectations

If you could easily run a mile before the pandemic and have not exercised since, don’t think that that mile is going to be an easy feat. The same can be said for your warm up weight on a bench press. The fact of the matter is that if you did not work out, or only worked out minimally, during the pandemic, you will not be the same upon your return. That’s perfectly fine, but expecting that you will be the same sets you up for failure, injury, and disappointment. It’s very common to be upset or angry when you tire easily or can’t lift what you used to. It’s better to self-examine before your workout to assess where you should start. Once you have a starting place, you can create goals to motivate yourself to get back to where you were.

Set Goals

Not only does setting goals help to motivate you, but it also keeps you focused. The goals should be specific, smart, realistic, and time-sensitive. Is your goal to run a 5K in under 20 minutes? Maybe you want to get stronger, increase your rep count, or squat a certain weight. Whatever the goal is, gradually build towards it. Start small and increase the difficulty as time passes. You can reach your goals, but you have to start slowly so that your body can acclimate to your new regimen without worrying about potential injury.

Diverse Activities For Runners

People who run require a different workout regimen than those who only want to lift weights and build muscle. When you return to running, take the time to stretch before and after your run. You may also want to consider foam rolling for myofascial release. Running is not just about distance or time, though. Physical trainers suggest that runners develop a solid glute strengthening routine to increase muscle strength and mobility. Additionally, you may also want to adjust sleeping and eating habits to encourage an overall healthier body when you run.

Tips To Stay Motivated

There is no possible way that you will experience instantaneous results. That’s just not the way life goes, folks. Unfortunately, most people want to give up when they don’t see immediate progress. Giving up after so much time away from exercise defeats the purpose or returning to the gym! One of the best ways to make your new exercise routine a habit is to engage in exercises that you like. Consider joining a fitness class with a motivational instructor. Zumba, spin, hot yoga, or Pilates might be more beneficial for you and your fitness goals. You may even want to sign up for personal training sessions to help you stay on track. If a trainer is not affordable, consider using a workout/fitness app to set goals and track progress. 

Don’t Beat Yourself Up

It’s easy to compare your pre-COVID self to your post-COVID self, but don’t do that. If you haven’t been training for over a year, there is no need for comparison. In fact, that’s a ludicrous idea! Your strength or endurance declined, but you are back to bring them back to where they were. Be proud of yourself for wanting to get back in shape. Always stay positive and you will get back to where you left off before the pandemic. 

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