Your guide to getting back into (or starting!) exercise
If it’s been a while since you’ve put on your activewear, that’s no biggie – getting back into exercise isn’t as overwhelming as you’d expect. We’ve rounded up some tips to get you moving
Whether it’s been a few months, a few years or it’s your rst time, the thought of exercising can be seriously daunting. But there are plenty of bene ts to exercise – a healthier heart, longer life and improved mood, to name a few – and the good news is once you get started the easier it becomes. With so many workouts available these days from aerial yoga to good old running, you’re bound to nd something you enjoy, too.
Here’s what to keep in mind before you pull on your gym shoes.
FIRST THINGS FIRST
Regardless of how long it’s been, don’t be hard on yourself for being out of shape now – tness isn’t linear; there are plenty of ups and downs over time. Whether it’s a busy schedule, injury or starting a family that saw you take a break, there are periods during everyone’s life when it’s okay to be a little out of shape.
Before your rst workout, think about why you took a break from exercise, and if the reason has since been addressed. If work was too hectic to make it to the gym, do you now have a better work/life balance? If you became bored with your old workout, have you found a fun routine? If you took a break because of injury, has this been treated? If you take care of the obstacles that stood in your way previously, you’re more likely to stick with your new routine.
If it’s been a while since you last exercised, we won’t lie – it’ll be tough going at rst. But be kind to yourself and remember: you don’t have to be good at it, you just have to do it. However, it is important to make sure you ease back into exercise to avoid any injuries. At the beginning, aim to do half of what you were doing before you stopped. For instance, if you were able to run for half an hour, aim for a 15-minute jog at most. If it’s been quite some time, start from scratch and see how you go – you may be pleasantly surprised at the tness you’ve retained!
As your muscles get used to your workout, it’s likely you’ll be a little stiff at times. But you can ease sore muscles by dedicating around 10 minutes after your workout to stretching. If delayed-onset muscle soreness is holding you back or you want prepare yourself prior to exercising, supplements with magnesium, taurine or creatine can help with muscle fatigue and recovery, while multivitamins can help with everyday health to keep you boosted with energy.
KEEP IT UP
Staying motivated is possibly the hardest thing about sticking with exercise, but there’s plenty of ways to make it easier. At rst, take it easy and just commit to the rst ve minutes – you may
nd that once you’ve got your gear on and you’re moving, it’s easier to keep going. And if it’s been a while, remember, even a single workout a week is progress.
Setting goals, especially if they’re small and short term, may help keep that motivation front and centre. If you’d like to drop some weight, why not aim to lose a small amount per week? Or if getting tter is the goal, perhaps set a goal of running one kilometre in your rst month and increasing it after that. Thinking about the little things can help too, even if it’s just ‘I will feel proud of myself for nishing my workout’ or ‘A walk makes me feel better’. Reward yourself for each accomplishment, too, by treating yourself to a massage or something special.
If your motivation drops at some point, that’s okay – this is when your plan B comes in. If you’re not enjoying your current gym class, take the opportunity to try out another class, or another exercise entirely. There are lots of lowimpact workouts you can start out with or add to your routine, like going for a bike ride, taking a dance class, hiking outdoors or heading to the local pool. If lack of time is the issue, make a date with your workout and schedule your life around it, as you would with other appointments like seeing friends or going to the dentist. Then come up with alternatives for when you can’t make it. If you don’t have time for your 8am yoga class, you could take a walk around the block in your lunch break instead.
If you know you’re the type who needs accountability, rope in your friends or family to help. It’s harder to skip a workout when someone else is relying on you, and it’s a good opportunity to have a regular catch-up. Packing your gym bag the night before may also help. Otherwise lace up your shoes and get going. Then bask in the post-workout glow – you’ve earned it.
IF YOUR MOTIVATION DROPS AT SOME POINT,THAT’S OKAY – THIS IS WHEN YOUR PLAN B COMES IN