It’s safe to say that the last few years have been an ongoing rollercoaster. And as such our whole routine has been thrown all over the place! It can be a bit overwhelming trying to get back into a fitness routine. Whether it is due to injury, lacking motivation or – more likely – life just got in the way (cough*covid*cough). Here are some ideas of how to slip back into those regular workouts.
With restrictions flying out the door and being back into the swing of all the things, we can finally start to get back into our fitness routines too. Some of us were able to stay motivated and workout at home, but for the rest of us (myself included) it’s about trying to find the balance to get back into the activity that we used to do pre… all of this.
With the return of gyms, sport and still somewhat nice weather, we are going back to our “normal” routine and activities. And as exciting as it is – we also need to ensure we don’t do too much too soon!
1. Plan ahead
I don’t know about you all but the motivation side of things has certainly been lacking in trying to get my butt out of bed and off to the gym. What I have found that has helped is planning my day and making myself accountable in going to do an activity. Whether that is writing it down (in pen so I HAVE to do it), having a workout buddy or locking myself into a class.
2. Start small
When starting back to exercise, it is a good idea to reduce your workout time. Even if you just start with 10-15 minutes per day or take little steps to be more active, that is better than nothing! Doing too much can be overwhelming and counter-productive. Let yourself ease back into a routine and not go too gung ho. Shorter sessions at the gym are also a good idea initially to let your body settle back into it all.
3. Begin your session with a warm-up
It doesn’t have to be anything too crazy! 5-10mins to get the blood flowing! OR if you live close – why not jog or ride to the gym? Warm-ups are often overlooked when we exercise but focusing on specific stretching or muscle activation for your session is ideal in decreasing the risk of injury. Follow along to this simple (and no jumping!) warm up below
4. Don’t presume that you are still at the same fitness level as previous
This one seems pretty obvious but here at the clinic we have seen the injuries sustained in people who have thought that they could just go back to what they were doing before. Whether you have still been doing some sort of regular exercise or not, it is completely normal to not be at that same fitness level. Ease back into it! Don’t automatically pick up the same heavy weights because we can guarantee that your body WILL NOT like you for it.
Your body will naturally have regressed. BUT on the flip side, you will likely regain your strength and fitness back much quicker thanks to muscle memory.
6. Be patient with what level you are at
We understand that it can be frustrating to not be able to lift as heavy, or run as far as you used to. Trust that in time that this WILL come back. Don’t try to push yourself too far too soon as this may result in injury which you will find means you will be spending more time away from your fitness goals (and maybe more time at the osteo!).
7. Cool down and stretch
We hear the excuses all the time – “I don’t have time to stretch” or “I didn’t do a hard workout, I don’t need to cool down”. WRONG! One of the most important parts of any fitness training is ensuring you are stretching those muscles out that have been used over the session. This can be a light walk followed by some static stretching, foam rolling, spiky balling or having a hot shower to name a few.
Delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) is a natural occurrence, and you will likely feel sore 1-3 days post-workout. Check out these foam rolling sessions from resident Osteopath Sarah and try to incorporate it in your recovery if you are able!
8. Listen to your body – REST and RECOVER
Working out 7 days a week IS NOT NECESSARILY A GOOD THING. And it doesn’t make you “super fit” if you do so either. Our body needs time to rest from training, not only to allow the structures to recover from a workout but to attempt to prevent adrenal fatigue. If you are feeling sore or anything feels painful, don’t just try to push through it for the sake of it! Pain is the body’s way to tell you that it isn’t ready to do something. Our body needs to recover so taking into account stretching, cool downs, hydration and nutrition all are important.
You need to let your muscles adapt to the new load on them otherwise you may end up overloading everything and injuring yourself. Rest and stretching are important, and osteopathic treatment can also help the body recover if required.
9. Nutrition and Sleep
So you’ve gone from sitting on your butt all day back into a high intensity workout – your calorie intake may need to be altered to accommodate this. Now this doesn’t mean to treat yourself to a block of chocolate (although – no judgement if you do!) but making sure you’re intaking enough protein and sustenance to get you through the extra activity is important. Pending what you are doing, most gym sessions can burn 300+ calories per session. And multiply that by how many times you exercise and that all adds up!
Getting a good night’s sleep is also crucial to recovery. So if you need a rest day, snooze that alarm or do a shorter/less strenuous workout. Often when we are tired or fatigued we are more likely to injure ourselves.
10. HAVE FUN
Getting back into physical activity doesn’t have to be a chore! Think about all of those endorphins you’ll feel and the boost in energy after a workout. Mix up what you’re doing – try a class, go for a jog, but overall enjoy yourself!
To book an appointment at Bodywell Healthcare either call us on 9717 1200 or you can book online HERE