How to get back into exercise after a break (maybe a very long break)
There might be all sorts of reasons why you have not done any exercise for a while.
- You got injured – either through exercise or (as is usually the case) through something else entirely – like when one of our members broke her hand when she tried to save a packet of eggs from falling on the ground at Harris Farm
- You have had pelvic floor issues that you have had to work out. You have seen a womens physio and done the exercises and it has taken a while.
- You have had a tough time in your personal life. There might have been issues at home which ended up relegating exercise to the end of the list of priotities.
- You have gained weight and you do not feel comfortable exercising at your new size so you just stopped.
- You have been working very hard and your hours have not allowed for you to spend any time on yourself.
- There is no particular reason. You just stopped one day and it has now been a long time.
So – how to get back into it? Well the first thing is that you have to make a decision to re-start. This is a whole process in itself. You might have a number of false starts if the decision to get back to it is still not really a firm one. You can waver between – yes I am going to do this and – no I am not fit enough or good enough anymore. I think you need to have a reason to start back which is fairly compelling. It is your WHY. For me it is because I know that a fit and strong version of myself is going to be happier in the short term (mood enhancing, weight control, able to do more) and the long term (avoiding chronic illness, better quality of life into old age).
Decision made. The task now is to find a form of exercise that:
1. you do not hate (notice the way I did not say “you like”)
2. something that is accessible – nearby to your home or work – convenient and not too difficult to make happen
3. something that can become part of your life – not a fad or special extra only for a certain period of time. SCHEDULE IT INTO YOUR DIARY. Do not put other things in when it is your exercise time. It must be treated as a priority or it will not happen.
The most important things you will need are 1. a pair of shoes that suit your foot and the activity you have in mind 2. a good sports bra if you have big or bouncy boobs. A new workout outifit that you like is also quite motivating.
The first session will be the hardest. Just getting there and then when you get there – possibly a lot to take in. If it is a good class the instructor will ask you about injuries or issues and will let you have alternative exercises if something is not suitable. The instructor will make you feel at ease and if you are struggling – will give you a version of the training that is suitable for where you are at right now. NOW IS NOT THE TIME TO GO HARD. Take it step by step. You have the whole of the rest of your life to improve. You do not want to get injured in your first week.
The trick once you have gone the first time is to KEEP GOING. You will feel sore after the first session and maybe after the second and third. Move through the aches (if it is an injury of course you should stop!). It is likely to be DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness). Take some magnesium which might help with the muscle pain and a bath in some epsom salts.
Make yourself accountable. Maybe you need a workout buddy or ask the instructor to follow up if you don’t attend. Keep a record of your progress so that you can see how much you are improving because it will motivate you.
After even a week or so you will be very pleased with yourself for getting back into it. The decision to do something followed by the incredibly hard step of actually turning up IS A BIG DEAL. Congratulations.