There are several reasons people take a break from working out. One is that their life simply got out of control. I know that I seldom cut any slack for people who say they are too busy, but sometimes they are. It might be a family crisis that took them away from their workout or an emergency at work that took time to solve. It also could be an injury. Sometimes, leaving your workout by the wayside just happens and when you want to start again after a long break, there are a few rules you should follow.
Don’t try to start where you left off, particularly if the break was longer than a month.
The longer it’s been since you’ve worked out, the slower you should take it. Muscle strength decreases, just as endurance does, after laying off for a few weeks. Imagine how much you lose if you haven’t worked out for a month or so. For the first few sessions, pace yourself. Start with something easier the first session. If you haven’t worked out for years, start with taking a walk or just doing a few repetitions per set. You’ll feel more like working out the next time if your muscles aren’t sore for days.
Workout for a shorter length of time.
If you’re used to hour long workouts, cut it short if you’re just getting back, particularly if your layoff was for an injury or illness. If you have to cut it down to five minutes, then do just five minutes and up it to ten minutes the next time. If that five minute workout didn’t leave you tired, go for a second five minutes and evaluate. You might find that you’re almost ready for a full workout. Know you can quit any time your body tells you and you’ll be more apt to get back in the groove and won’t suffer injuries.
If the challenge of working out seems too daunting, make it a for a specific time.
You don’t have to start by saying you’re going to workout forever. Just give yourself a time frame that doesn’t overwhelm. Start with a month or six week challenge and let yourself reevaluate after that. This is especially good for people who simply quit, rather than those who quit due to injury. Sometimes knowing it’s not forever can make it easier to face. Once you workout for that month or six weeks, you’ll probably feel good enough to continue.
- Create your own schedule if working out three times a week seems too daunting. Maybe you’ll workout one day a week, but walk two other days each week. Create a program that works for you.
- Make sure you include all three types of fitness exercises, cardio, strength and flexibility. Also include warm-ups and cool downs. You’ll find complete programs in the store.
- Get a workout buddy and have fun. Instead of going out for a drink or pizza, make some healthy snacks and workout with a friend. It can be far more fun than working out alone and you have someone else holding you accountable for working out.
- For the first few sessions after a break, make sure you focus on form, not repetitions or speed. Having the right form will prevent injury and maximize the benefits of the exercise.
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