January 4, 2016

Ease Back into Exercise with These 5 Steps

Live Healthy

Whether it’s due to a hectic schedule, traumatic event, stressful holiday season or demanding work situation, life happens. 

When priorities temporarily are forced to shift, physical activity may move to the bottom of your to-do list. 

“It’s important to know that being too hard on yourself when falling out of a fitness routine can be detrimental to your progress,” says Jason Jones, MS, exercise physiologist with Straub Medical Center’s Dr. Ornish’s Program for Reversing Heart Disease™

Rather than get discouraged, Jones advises just to pick yourself up, brush yourself off and have another go at it. 

Here are five ways to help you get back on track:

  • Find a workout buddy. Whether you prefer competition, encouragement or a combination of the two, finding a workout partner that compliments and challenges your current physical abilities can help keep you focused when your program gets trying. Pairing up also is a good way to keep each other accountable.

  • Know what motivates you. There is no right or wrong answer, but think of a reason that will inspire you to work hard even when you feel like having a lazy day. When times get tough – and they will – you need to remember why you started and remind yourself you are strong enough to push through!

  • Visualize. It’s important to make long-term and short-term goals, but it’s helpful to see yourself achieving said goals, too. Try creating a vision board, or simply close your eyes and imagine yourself conquering the little victories. Both of these strategies can help your achieve real-life results.

  • Take it slowly. So you finally have the drive to achieve your goals. Great! You probably have a lot of energy now to match this determination, but it’s extremely important to slowly get back to the grind. Coming back too quickly from even a two-week break can cause excessive muscle soreness, fatigue and injury. Record your workouts to see consistency and monitor progress.

  • Have fun! There will be many ups and downs on your fitness journey. This sometimes can be frustrating, but negativity will just set you back more. The most important thing to remember is to keep a positive mindset and continue to have fun! 

“Your long-term goals may seem far away from today, but just keep putting one foot in front of the other, and before you know it you will have walked a mile,” Jones says. “Enjoy the journey, because you are on your way to making yourself better.”