Health & Wellness
Easing Back Into Fitness
Whether you’ve been hibernating a while, out with an injury, surgery, or just plain full of excuses, getting back on track with a fitness routine can seem overwhelming. Fitness options from glamour gyms and box gyms, to boot camps and boutique style fitness studios are everywhere, giving you endless options. But where do you start? Here are some tips to help guide you back into a healthy active lifestyle.
Make an appointment with yourself for each workout. Set the time in a calendar app with reminders and alarms if necessary. Find a routine that works with your work schedule, sleep schedule and lifestyle. You won’t want to try to commit to a 5 a.m. Saturday boot camp when you know you’re out late every Friday night. Find what works with you and keep these appointments as you would any other. Don’t flake on yourself.
Initial goals are crucial, as this is where a lot of us unknowingly set ourselves up for failure. Unsustainable workout plans, unrealistic aesthetic goals, numbers on the scale or lofty strength goals can be too much too soon and mentally overwhelming. Set goals that are realistic and gradual in nature. Are you comfortable committing to one group class a week? Great! Schedule that and stick to it. You can’t get to five or six days a week without conquering one day a week. Start slowly and hold yourself accountable. Not only will you find your long-term goals easier to achieve, you will be at less risk of injury by not overloading your body right out of the gate.
Create a Comprehensive Plan
As you move along over the first few weeks, you will want to begin creating a plan towards long term wellness. This includes implementing a lifestyle inclusive of strength, cardio and flexibility. These can be separate workouts such as strength training on Monday, spin class on Wednesday and weekend Yoga. Or they might be combined into one strength based, bodyweight, HIIT-style workout with stretching afterwards. Don’t forget to listen to your body and focus on form as you journey through each of these areas. You may find yourself trying multiple exercise formats before you find those that feel right for you.
Proper Warm-up and Stretch
Warm ups go a long way in the prevention of injury. If you have been inactive for years, months, or even days you are probably tighter and less mobile than you think you are. Your warm up should be cardiovascular, such as walking jogging, biking and begin slowly. Gradually increase the heart rate, bringing blood flow to the working muscles and just break a sweat (about 5-10 minutes). Once the muscles are warm you will perform dynamic stretches which are active movements that are not held in one position (lunges with torso rotation, knee pulled into chest, pushups). Ideally, the warmup will consist of movements similar in nature to the workout planned. Body weight squats and lunges would transition perfectly into a weighted leg workout, ensuring required muscles are primed and ready to work under load.
Nutrition & Hydration Awareness
Getting your body more active goes hand in hand with nutrition. This does not need to be obsessively micro-managed or laborious despite popular fad diet trends we hear of on a daily basis. Oftentimes, calorie counting and extreme food restrictions lead straight to failure. A great place to start is by simply paying attention to, or recording what is going into your body throughout the day. When we become aware of what we are consuming we can usually see where changes need to be made. You might not realize you are drinking several sodas per day, or perhaps you forgot that you already had a few cookies earlier in the day as you grab a few more. Maybe an entire day has passed and you have not even downed one glass of water. Recording will help bring this to your attention. The bottom line: Your body needs Protein, Carbohydrates, Fat and Water to operate efficiently and feel its best.
What could be the key to long term wellness is often overlooked. Proper sleep habits will help prevent muscle loss, keep workout related injuries at bay and mental wellness. Even though you may not be working out, your body is working hard to recover and needs the time off.
Our bodies respond to consistency: remember, you’re creating a lifestyle and that consistency is going to determine your success. Now that you have some helpful tips, give it your all and enjoy the journey. Take care of your body. It cannot be replaced.