How to Get Back on the Fitness Wagon After a Long Break
Maybe you used to spend hours in the gym or run five kilometers thrice a week. But, because of some reason – illness, injury, or long vacation – you had to stop and now want to get back to your regular workout routine. However, when you start working out after a long break, you immediately realize that your fitness level has deteriorated.
This can lead to loss of motivation and feeling disheartened before you give your body a chance to regain its former strength and endurance. As a result, getting back on the wagon can be incredibly difficult. To avoid injuries and ensure that you don’t lose your drive, here are some tips on easing back into working out:
1. Don’t Go Overboard
It’s understandable that you’d want to immediately continue your fitness regimen from where you left off. But, doing so will result in injury. You’ll put too much burden on your body by rushing directly into your old workout – especially since your body isn’t ready for that kind of physical stress yet.
Realize that it’s okay if you can’t lift the same weight you used to six months ago. If you’re too sore the next day, you will feel worse and working out again will become even more difficult. So, start small and work your way up to your former fitness level.
2. Warm Up, Cool Down, and Stretch
While the warm-up, cool down, and stretching routine is mandatory for everyone, it is especially important if your body isn’t used to working out anymore. After workouts, your body will experience delayed onset muscle soreness – causing tight and achy muscles for 24-72 hours. A good warm up, cool down, and stretching routine will reduce this discomfort.
3. Plan a Wholesome Regimen
Regardless of the kind of workout you want to primarily focus on, your workout schedule should include three components – cardio, strength training, and rest days. When you focus too much one aspect of fitness – say cardio, you will begin to lose muscle mass as well as fat. Similarly doing too much strength training without rest days will lead to injury, derailing your workout.
Depending on your focus, you can assign:
- 2/3 days to strength training
- 3/2 days to cardio
- 2 days to rest
4. Listen to Your Body
When you’re at your gym, you would want to finish the exercises you must have included in your plan. However, in the zeal of getting fit faster, don’t ignore what your body is telling you. If doing a workout is hurting you, you need to stop immediately.
Consult your gym trainer to see if your form is right or if you need more rest between different exercises. If you try to work through the pain, it may cause a severe problem, putting you out of commission for days.
5. Get Enough Sleep
There’s a popular saying in the fitness industry – you don’t get stronger when you are working out but when you’re resting. Your body needs ample sleep to recover from the exercises you put it through. It is during this process, that it gets stronger.
Without a full night’s sleep, you will be too fatigued to see through your fitness routine. Moreover, you will eventually end up failing if you’re always exhausted. That’s because you’ll feel too tired to go to the gym or start working out. So, make sure that you get a proper 8-hour sleep every day.
Working out after a long break can feel difficult but once you ease into it using the above tips, you’ll get back to your original schedule in no time. Also, make sure that you gradually make your workouts more challenging to continue your growth.