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

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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.

STAY­ING HEALTHY

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

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