It is inevitable to get away from the gym for some time, especially because of the rules of social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic. Work commitments or minor injuries can also keep you from exercising.
Whatever the reason, you’ve decided to get back to your workout routine. This can be challenging as your fitness is no longer the same as when you exercised frequently.
But that’s no excuse to sit still: your body just needs some time and sweat to get back into shape.
Take these 6 steps to be able to return to a fitness routine in the least traumatic way.
1. Set Goals
You will have to start slowly and improve with time. Do it like it’s your first time: set fitness goals and follow them to the letter, as a map of what you want to achieve.
Let’s say your goal is to work your arms more than your legs. In this case, create a list of arm exercises and check your goals daily to make sure you get everything done. If you want to improve your shape, create a list of abdominal exercises and also make sure you stick to the program.
There are free smartphone/smartwatch apps that help you keep track of your exercises and daily goals. When you establish a realistic list of workout routines and stick to it, you will feel more motivated.
2. Healthy Habits
Spending months down can wreak havoc on your health. In addition to getting back into a fitness routine, you will also have to adopt some new habits. Here are some tips to make your routine healthier:
- Start each day with a healthy breakfast
- Take more walks
- Go up and down stairs instead of using elevators or escalators
- Drink plenty of water throughout the day
- Correct your posture, especially in front of the computer
- Add more vegetables and cereals to your meals
- Replace unhealthy foods with more fitness options, such as low-fat dairy products or natural sweeteners
3. Active and Passive Days
Many people try to make up for the lost time by throwing themselves into an insane exercise routine. This is simply not healthy.
Instead of working out 6 days a week, take some days off adopting an active or passive recovery routine. Here’s the difference between them:
- Active Recovery– Your days off from the gym are used for lower intensity activities such as cycling, jogging, or working out in the pool. This allows you to reduce muscle inflammation and stiffness while avoiding pain.
- Passive Recovery– A day or two of complete rest, without any exercise. It’s essential when you are recovering from an injury or have just returned to the gym and feel sore all over. You can take the day off to do simple stretching at home or even a muscle relaxation massage.
4. Find Exercises You Enjoy
It’s hard to get back into a workout routine when you’ve never liked those exercises in the first place. Maybe it is the right time to find physical activities that you really enjoy.
Don’t you like the gym? No problem: there are apps that suggest exercise routines for you to practice on your own at home. Can’t stand to stay at home? Then go for a run, walk, or play sports outside.
The important thing is to do something that you’ll truly enjoy. And don’t forget to protect your body and eyes when exercising outside. For example, wear sports sunglasses when running or practicing contact sports.
5. Prepare Yourself For Muscle Soreness
One of the main side effects of getting back into a workout routine is suffering from muscle soreness. This is something you can’t avoid, so be prepared!
There are several homemade recipes to relieve the pain. Most of the time, applying ice to the affected areas is just enough. A massage to improve blood flow is also a holy remedy. And if anything else fails, a good night’s sleep can help your body regain energy and repair muscle tissue.
6. Always Warm-Up
Avoid jumping straight into exercises without warming up before each workout. It increases muscle flexibility and reduces muscle tension. This means that when you start the heavier exercises, your body will already be prepared to withstand the pressures.
In addition to quick stretches to prepare your muscles, don’t forget to also do some low-impact aerobic exercises (on the treadmill or elliptical machines) to prepare your heart.
Gain Without Pain
Getting back into a workout routine can be scary in the first few days. But if you adopt these tips, you will certainly make a less traumatic (and painful) return to physical activity.
Learn to respect your body and its limitations. Don’t try to go back to the same exercise routine you had before, especially if you’ve been away for months. Slowly resume your routine, allowing your muscles and bones to adjust to the impact.
If you experience a lot of difficulty in your first few days or weeks, see your doctor to assess how fit you are, especially if you suffer from some heart disease or kidney problem.