Getting back into exercise after a long break

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We’ve all had a spell on the sidelines, some maybe longer than others. Here’s how to get back to exercise in a healthy way. 

Warm up properly
The warm-up can feel like a hurdle before starting exercise. Look at it differently. Just like a team talk for Premier League players before a match, your body and mind need time to prepare. We’re not suggesting you start talking to your muscles before each set, but we can all admit we’ve met a random bloke in the gym who does. 

Warm-ups give your body the chance to gradually increase blood flow to your muscles, prepping them for movement and cool downs help your body gradually return to its pre-exercise heart rate and blood pressure.  

Take it easy for the first few weeks
Whether your break from exercise has been COVID-related or you’ve just got into the habit of sitting, eating your favourite foods and watching telly, there’s no judgement here. 

It’s normal that it will take a few weeks to feel on top form, so be nice to yourself in the beginning. Don’t push too hard in a gym session and then not turn up for a few days, it’s better to be consistent than go hard and fizzle out. 

Get enough rest in between sessions
Exercise releases hormones called endorphins, they’re the ones that make you feel good! It’s human nature to chase that feeling, but resting properly in between sessions is key to improving your fitness and keeping your body in tip-top shape. 

  • Resting is essential for muscle growth. 
  • If you don’t recover properly it can lead to decreased performance in your next workout. 
  • The perfect amount of rest depends on your age, fitness level and intensity of your training. Generally giving yourself 24-48 hours in between training the same muscles is a good guide. 

Want to do something between sessions? How about a walk, yoga or stretching session? We call these active recovery sessions, and they can be worth their weight in gold. 

Don’t start doing everything at once
It’s tempting to sign up to every class on offer or commit to hitting the gym 5 days a week. We love that you want to get active again and your gym will love you for showing them support, but you’ve got to start small. Play the long game.  

If your body isn’t used to moving as much as it was, suddenly throwing it into a hardcore workout regime will do more harm than good. You’ll be more likely to injure yourself if you’re pushing too hard and you’ll also be at risk of suffering an injury or burnout which can lead us to feeling deflated and defeated. 

Start slowly and build up the number of sessions as well as the intensity of your workouts as you get used to it again. 

Keep hydrated
We’re probably all guilty of not making enough effort to hit our recommended daily amount of water intake. Keeping yourself hydrated is important if you want to see real progress with your fitness and weight loss efforts. 

Getting enough water before, during and after a workout is a bit of a skill. It can help boost your energy levels, replenishes water lost through sweat to stop you feeling dehydrated and generally keeps your body functioning at it’s best. It’s time to make your water bottle your best mate. 

Follow the above advice to give yourself the best chance of staying injury-free. Your body will thank you and you’ll be much more motivated to continue improving your fitness. 

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