If you've been hibernating and done nothing but watch Netflix all lockdown (and who could blame you?), the thought of getting back into a regular fitness routine can seem a bit daunting. While there's no way around it, when you're not in the habit of working out, it can be difficult to get back into it. Here are 8 things to keep in mind as you get back into the world of fitness.
1. Don't do too much right away.
Doing too much too soon can overwhelm you mentally and a hardcore workout routine may feel like too much to deal with, which in return make you feel defeated. You're probably not going to be as fit as you were, and that's ok. Start small and work your way up, the goal is just to get moving more. People have a tendency to overdo it initially, and they end up with injuries because the body is not prepared for the extra activity. After a week or two, you can bump up the intensity as long as you're not losing form.
2. Begin with what works for you.
If you only feel comfortable committing to one day a week to start? Mark it on your calendar and stick with it. Don't feel like you have to immediately start five or six gym workouts per week. As you get comfortable, try to work your way up to four days a week. The body responds to consistency so results will come much faster if you can keep a regular pattern and frequency.
3. Don't forget to take those rest days!
Another reason not to jump into a six-days-a-week workout routine, recovery. When you take a day off, your body isn't. It's actually working very hard to repair itself after all the work you put it through. Rest days are key to long-term wellness. This is a lifestyle you're creating now.
4. Start your workout with a good warm-up and end with a good cool-down.
A good warm-up prepares your body for the increase in activity and a cool-down allows your heart rate to return to a normal resting rate. Don't cut corners here. Stretching is especially important when you're getting back into a fitness routine.
5. Focus on your form.
Quality is better quantity, especially when you're just getting back into fitness. Slow down and be mindful of your movements. Take the time to focus on your form, on your breathing, on your control.
6. Listen to your body.
Your body is going to let you know that it's working hard. If something feels weird or gives you pain, stop doing whatever that is.
7. Make sure you sleep.
Working out takes a lot of energy, so you might feel more fatigued initially because you are burning more calories and your body is trying to adapt to the increased stresses. It's ok to get in bed a little early and hit snooze on some days...your body will thank you for it.
8. Find someone who keeps you motivated.
Find a friend who is already working out and has a routine. That person can be a key motivator. If you'd rather share the starting line, find a friend who is also looking to get back into a regular routine. Together you can keep each other accountable.