Perhaps you’ve been out of action for a while because of an injury or illness, or maybe you’re just thinking about getting back into exercise after having had a baby. Whatever the reason, and whether it’s been weeks, months or years, returning to exercise can be daunting. The following 5 tips will help ease you back into exercise!
1. Start slower than you think you need to
Depending on how long you’ve been out of the exercise game for you will likely not be able to just jump back in right where you left off. Doing too much too soon isn’t a good idea. It can lead to you giving up due to burn-out or even to injury.
*If you’re mum returning to exercise after having your baby remember to wait until you get the all-clear from your GP at your 6-week post-natal check-up before starting anything more intense than walking or very gentle pelvic-floor exercises.
Take the time to warm up properly before exercising
Keep in mind the goal of exercise - it is a way of caring for, not punishing your body (check out this blog post for more on this!).
2. Practice self-compassion
It can be frustrating when you can’t do the things you use to be able to do and can also be seriously disheartening to feel like you’re starting from square one all over again! Rather than giving in to hopelessness or becoming overly critical because you feel so far away from where you once were, try taking a deep breath and choosing to acknowledge the truth that it’s hard getting back into exercise. It will take time and you can do it at your own pace. Self-compassion is not self-indulgence, it’s not giving in and deciding to have a pity party for yourself, it’s about treating yourself as you would a beloved friend.
Watch your language - are you speaking kindly to yourself?
It is totally ok and not at all a failing to modify moves, slow down, rest or even stop if you need to.
3. Find something that works for you
What worked for you before may not work for you now. Maybe 2h long solitary runs were your thing and now you have a little baby human who you can’t leave alone or maybe you can’t run very far anymore as a result of an injury. It might be that you need to find some other form of exercise that you love doing for a time, who knows, you might even end up preferring it!
Try different things out until you find one that fits your preferences, current ability level and routine.
Swimming is a great option for a non-weight bearing activity when you’re recovering from an injury, try a few laps on your own or join a water-based fitness class.
4. Buddy up
Joining exercise classes or groups can feel scary, especially if you’re just getting back into working out. Why not ask a friend to go along with you? Having someone to exercise with is great for accountability too. On those days when you just feel like you just can’t be bothered even though you know you’ll feel better if you get moving, your friend can encourage you and vice versa.
Choose who you feel encourages you rather than is overly critical (unless that’s your thing)
If there isn’t someone you can exercise with why not join a class, they can be great places to meet people with similar interests!
5. Be patient
Getting back into working out after not doing much can be a really long process, it takes time but is totally worth it. Be patient with yourself, your body and rather than seeing being back at the start as an inconvenience try to reframe it as an opportunity to learn and grow in new ways.
Listen to your body - there are no hard and fast rules, you go by how you feel. Think you can push a little harder and challenge yourself a little more, go for it! Feel like you need to stop and rest, do that.
Remember that pain isn’t a good thing. If you feel any pain or serious discomfort stop and see your GP or a physiotherapist to check that everything is ok.
As a nutritionist and personal trainer, I love helping women to find movement that makes them feel amazing! I passionately believe that exercise isn’t a punishment and can be a joy. If this is an area you feel stuck in why not get in touch for a FREE 20-min Intro session to see how I can help you.