Regular exercise is important for our physical and mental well-being. Whether you’ve suffered a long-term injury from an accident that wasn’t your fault, fallen out of the habit during pregnancy or postpartum, or are looking to take up a new sport suddenly, it can be difficult to settle back into regular exercise. Below we explore how you can do this safely.
Manage your expectations
Whatever your goals are with exercise, it usually takes consistent, applied exercise for you to see results. When you begin your exercising journey don’t expect too much too soon. If you run too far or lift weights that are too heavy, you could quickly aggravate any injuries – or suffer new ones. Instead, you should plan ahead: work out a long-term structure for your exercise and aim to step up your efforts week by week as you become fitter.
One of the most difficult parts of easing back in is keeping yourself motivated. Work out what encourages you to exercise and apply it whenever you feel like you’re hitting the wall. Perhaps you could arrange to regularly exercise with friends. Or you could work towards a long-term event: be it a marathon, half-marathon, or something like the three-peaks challenge. Some people also enjoy the motivation of using a social running app. Apps like Strava allow you to publish your exercise and compare it with friends.
An injury setback can quickly halt your return to exercise. Make sure that your plans won’t risk an injury. If you’re in the gym this can involve speaking to instructors to ensure that you have the correct technique and posture when working with weights. Alternatively, if you’re out running you should invest in trainers that fit you well without causing blisters. Ultimately though, you’ll know your body best. If you feel excessively fatigued then it might not be worth pushing yourself any further – finish up your exercise, rest up for a few days before getting started again.
Setting goals can act as motivation, while also measuring your improvement each week. Work on both short-term and long-term goals. In the near future, this could be becoming demonstrably fitter or stronger, while in the long-term this could refer to a specific competition or challenge. Either way, it can be helpful if you set yourself an achievable accomplishment to work towards.
Getting back into exercise can seem like a daunting task initially. But once you ease yourself back in, you can quickly find yourself in a good rhythm. Ensure that you manage expectations, safely set goals, and stay motivated, and you should be all set to become fitter.