Working out consistently and living a healthy lifestyle can be challenging in itself, but what’s even more challenging is jumping back on the exercise bandwagon after you’ve taken a break. At some point in our lives, we’ve all been there and had to take a break from exercising. I’m offering my tips on how to get back into it! Follow my techniques and allow yourself some grace time and you’ll be back to feeling great in the gym.
In August 2017, I suffered from some second degree burns on my right leg. I had to wear big bandages for a few weeks and could not get the burn sweaty whatsoever. This forced me to take some time off from exercising to allow my skin to heal. I’ll be completely honest with you, and tell you how hard this break was for me. Working out is my form of therapy, and I had to accept a break.
When I was cleared to work out again, I wanted to just jump back into the gym and pick up where I left off. Um, no Madison, that cannot happen. Do not assume you can do everything you did before the break. You’ve got to ease back into a fitness routine to prevent yourself from being injured or getting discouraged.
- Start off small. Start with walks around the neighborhood or on the treadmill. See how you feel after your walk and gradually increase the amount of time you walk or jog. After my burn, I started back by walking my dogs slowly around the neighborhood. I actually enjoyed slowing down and looking at my surroundings for once!
- Add in low-impact weight training. Slowly add in strength training to your weekly fitness plan. This can be 1-2 times a week to start and then eventually increasing to every other day. Make sure your strength training is low-impact and you don’t overdo it with burpees galore. Look up low-impact strength training tips online or attend a Barre or Pilates class at your local gym. I started back with upper- body at-home workouts and Pilates classes at the gym.
- Stretch tons after your workout. Take a yoga class after you work out or stretch for at least 15 minutes after your workout. Since you’ve taken a break, your body is more likely to get stiff or injured. Stretch your muscles while they are warm and you’ll thank yourself later.
- Plan your week out ahead of time. I like to plan my workouts each week to keep me on track. After taking a break from exercising, this is even more important, because you need to make sure you’re easing back into it and not just jumping into workouts because your body is feeling great. Planning ahead of time, and even a month at a time, can help. Seeing your progress and how far you have come is great motivation.
- Give yourself a break! This is probably the most important tip of them all. Allowing yourself the grace period to ease back into working out does not mean giving up the second it gets hard. Instead, listen to your body. Are you incredibly sore and cannot do a planned workout because you worked out too hard the day before? Then take a break that day and walk in your neighborhood or head to the gym to do the elliptical. Don’t give up, but don’t be so hard on yourself that you start to hate working out!