How To Start Exercising Again: 7 Helpful Tips To Get Back On Track
In today’s sedentary lifestyle, it’s easy to fall out of the habit of regular exercise. Whether it’s due to a hectic schedule, lack of motivation, or simply forgetting to prioritize our health, starting to exercise again can be a daunting task. However, with the right approach and mindset, getting back on track can be a rewarding and transformative experience. In this article, we will explore seven helpful tips to help you start exercising again and reclaim your fitness journey.
Assess Your Current Fitness Level
Before diving headfirst into a new exercise routine, it’s important to assess your current fitness level. This step allows you to understand where you stand physically and what areas you need to focus on. Consider the following factors when assessing your fitness level:
- Body composition: Take note of your weight, body fat percentage, and measurements.
- Cardiovascular endurance: Evaluate how long you can sustain aerobic activities like running, swimming, or cycling.
- Muscular strength and endurance: Assess your ability to perform resistance exercises such as push-ups, squats, and planks.
- Flexibility: Determine your range of motion and overall flexibility.
By understanding your starting point, you can set realistic goals and track your progress effectively.
Set Realistic Goals For Yourself
Once you have assessed your current fitness level, it’s time to set realistic and achievable goals. Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day, and the same applies to your fitness journey. Consider the following tips when setting your goals:
- Be specific: Instead of saying, “I want to get fit,” set a specific goal like “I want to run a 5K in three months.”
- Break it down: Divide your goals into smaller, manageable milestones. This makes them more attainable and keeps you motivated along the way.
- Make it measurable: Use metrics such as weight, body fat percentage, or the number of reps to track your progress.
- Set a timeline: Give yourself a realistic timeframe to achieve each goal.
Remember, setting goals that are too ambitious can lead to frustration and burnout. Be patient with yourself and celebrate every small victory.
Find an Exercise Routine You Enjoy
One of the key factors in sticking to an exercise routine is finding an activity you genuinely enjoy. Exercise doesn’t have to be a chore; it can be a pleasurable experience that you look forward to. Consider the following tips when selecting an exercise routine:
- Explore different options: Try various activities such as running, swimming, dancing, yoga, or strength training to find what resonates with you.
- Consider your preferences: Do you prefer working out alone or in a group? Do you enjoy indoor or outdoor activities? Tailor your routine to match your preferences.
- Make it fun: Incorporate elements of enjoyment into your workouts, such as listening to music, watching TV shows while cycling, or joining fitness classes with friends.
When you find an exercise routine that aligns with your interests and preferences, you are more likely to stick with it in the long run.
Start with Small, Manageable Steps
Starting an exercise routine after a long hiatus can be overwhelming. To avoid burnout or injury, it’s crucial to start with small, manageable steps. Consider the following tips to ease into your fitness journey:
- Begin with low-impact activities: Start with exercises that are gentle on your joints, such as walking, biking, or swimming.
- Gradually increase intensity: As your fitness level improves, gradually increase the intensity and duration of your workouts.
- Incorporate strength training: Include resistance exercises to build muscle strength and improve overall fitness.
- Take rest days: Allow your body time to recover and adapt to the new routine. Rest days are essential for injury prevention and overall well-being.
By starting small, you reduce the risk of burnout and increase the likelihood of long-term success.
Schedule Your Workouts in Advance
To ensure consistency in your exercise routine, it’s essential to schedule your workouts in advance. Treat your fitness appointments as non-negotiable commitments and prioritize them just like any other important task. Consider the following tips for effective scheduling:
- Find a time that works for you: Determine the time of day when you are most energized and motivated to exercise.
- Block it in your calendar: Set aside specific time slots for your workouts and treat them as sacred.
- Have a backup plan: Life can be unpredictable, so have a backup plan for days when unexpected events disrupt your original workout schedule. This could be a shorter workout or a different activity.
By scheduling your workouts in advance, you eliminate the element of decision-making and make exercise a consistent part of your routine.
Stay Motivated and Accountable
- Set rewards: Treat yourself to small rewards when you reach your milestones. It could be anything from buying new workout gear to enjoying a guilt-free rest day.
- Find a workout buddy: Exercising with a friend or joining a fitness class can provide both accountability and social support.
- Track your progress: Keep a workout journal or use fitness apps to track your progress and celebrate how far you’ve come.
- Mix it up: Avoid monotony by varying your workouts and trying new activities. This keeps things exciting and prevents boredom.
Remember, motivation may fluctuate, but discipline will carry you through even when motivation wanes. Stay committed to your goals, and you will see results.
Listen to Your Body and Take Breaks
While consistency is essential, it’s equally important to listen to your body and take breaks when needed. Overtraining can lead to burnout, injuries, and setbacks in your fitness journey. Consider the following tips:
- Pay attention to pain or discomfort: If you experience sharp pain or discomfort during exercise, it’s crucial to stop and assess the situation. Consult a healthcare professional if necessary.
- Prioritize rest and recovery: Incorporate rest days into your routine to allow your body time to repair and rejuvenate.
- Practice self-care: Engage in activities that promote relaxation and stress reduction, such as yoga, meditation, or taking baths.
By being mindful of your body’s signals and taking breaks when necessary, you can ensure a sustainable and enjoyable fitness journey.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q1: How often should I exercise when starting again?
A1: It’s recommended to start with at least three to four days of exercise per week. Gradually increase the frequency as your fitness level improves.
Q2: Can I start exercising again after a long break?
A2: Absolutely! Starting again after a break is common and achievable. Begin with small, manageable steps and gradually increase intensity and duration.
Q3: What if I don’t enjoy any form of exercise?
A3: Explore different activities until you find one that resonates with you. Remember, exercise doesn’t have to be conventional; find something you genuinely enjoy, be it dancing, hiking, or even gardening.
Q4: What if I can’t find time for exercise in my busy schedule?
A4: Prioritize your health by scheduling your workouts and treating them as non-negotiable commitments. Look for small pockets of time throughout the day or consider breaking up your workouts into shorter sessions.
Q5: How do I stay motivated when starting to exercise again?
A5: Set realistic goals, track your progress, reward yourself, and find a support system. Remember your “why” and focus on the positive changes exercise brings to your overall health and well-being.
Q6: Can I start with intense workouts right away?
A6: It’s not recommended to jump into intense workouts immediately, especially after a long break. Start with low-impact activities and gradually increase intensity to prevent injuries and burnout.
Q7: Is it normal to feel sore after starting to exercise again?
A7: Yes, it’s normal to experience muscle soreness, known as delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS), when starting a new exercise routine. Allow your body time to adapt and recover, and the soreness will gradually decrease.
Note: The information provided in this article is for educational purposes only and should not replace professional medical advice. Consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new exercise program.