Tips For When You Are Getting Back Into Exercise
So you’ve had a bit of a break from the gym but you’ve decided it’s time to get back into it. Congratulations, and welcome back! Before we get too excited, it’s important to take some precautions when starting a new fitness regime. Injuries and overtraining can occur if you go too hard too fast and you don't take the necessary measures when starting your new fitness journey. Below are some tips to ensure you get safely back into exercise.
Don’t go 0 to 100
At the start of a new fitness journey you will be motivated, excited, and ready to rumble! This is great, but can get you in a little bit of trouble. When you first start out it’s important to go slow and work your way up. For example, if you want to start running, start off with a walk/jog session (jog a few minutes, walk a few minutes) 1-2 times in the first week then slowly work your way up. Here is an example of how you would slowly progressively overload your running.
Week 1 - 1 x 25 min jog/walk
Week 2 - 2 x 25 min jog/walk
Week 3 - 1 x 30 min jog/walk
Week 4 - 2 x 30 min jog/walk
Week 5 - 1 x 35 min jog/walk
Week 6 - 2 x 35 min jog/walk
Read more: Exercising At Home
Stretching and Warming Up
It’s not only important to work your way up slowly, it’s imperative that you do a proper warm up and cool down before each session. It’s a common myth that static stretching before exercise is helpful. Static stretching is for AFTER exercise - dynamic stretches are best for before exercise.
What are dynamic movements you ask? Let me explain. Dynamic stretches are controlled movements that prepare your muscles, ligaments, and other soft tissues for performance and safety.
Dynamic movement examples
- Lunge with a Twist
- Knee to Chest
- High Kicks
- Hip Stretch With A Twist
- Jump Squats
- Jump Lunges
On the other hand, static stretches are those in which you stretch a muscle (or group of muscles) to its farthest point and then maintain it or hold that position for 45 seconds to 2 minutes.
Static stretches examples:
- Overhead triceps stretch
- Biceps stretch
- Cobra Pose
- Seated butterfly stretch
- Head-to-knee forward bend
A recovery routine is very important, but people usually skip this part and find themselves injured or burnt out. Be sure to add in daily stretching and adequate cool down time after workouts. If you can, try to get regular massages or an occasional visit to a physical therapist to ensure your body is working just the way it should. These tips will help mitigate injury risk, so you won’t have to take weeks off from your new workout routine again.
Don’t change everything at once
When starting a fitness routine, you may be tempted to also drastically change your eating habits too. It’s not advantageous to change too many habits at once. We recommended you focus on one thing at a time. The first week you might want to focus on your eating, then when you have a hold on that you add in exercise, then when you have a handle on that work on sleep, or water intake. You’re more likely to stick to these habits if you take the slow and steady approach.
Read more: Staying Motivated When It's Cold Outside
Mix it up
It’s important to mix up your workouts between cardio and strength workouts. If your time away from exercising involves a lot of sitting, weaknesses in your posterior chain may cause issues if you stick to just one form of activity such as running. These muscles are important for basic everyday movement, as well as keeping your spine erect. That is why incorporating exercises that improve posture, develop core strength, and activate muscles throughout your backside and hamstring (back of thigh) regions is important for injury prevention.
Exercises like squats, lunges, bridges, hamstring curls, stability ball mobility, and core work will help to activate these areas. Start with using your bodyweight as the resistance, then slowly work your way up to carrying external resistance such as dumbbells and barbells.
So there you go, Mamas! If you have any questions just leave them in the comment box below.