March 15, 2017

Spring Back Into Shape

5 Tips to Tapping into Your Inner Athlete

Live Healthy

Many of our healthy habits go into hibernation during the holiday season. However, as temperatures get warmer and the days grow brighter, you can't help but feel that familiar pep return to your step. 

Chalk up this renewed sense of energy to spring fever, but March is the perfect time to return to a regular workout routine. 

“Taking a break from exercise can quickly cause you to become out of shape. When you want to begin working out again, make sure you consult your physician or knowledgeable athletic trainer/therapist first.  They can advise you on the best ways to return to exercise with less injury, make sure you are fit to start working out again, and offer support in your quest for a healthier you,” says Dr. Nick Crawford, an orthopedic surgeon and sports medicine physician with Straub Medical Center. 

Ready to spring back into shape? Here, Crawford shares five tips on ways to awaken your inner athlete after a long hiatus.

  • Take it Slow – You may want to hit the ground running, but making your first workout after a fitness hiatus a 15-mile run is not realistic. Continue working out the way you did before your break, but at a slower pace. If you were a runner, start with shorter distances. If you were lifting weights, start with lighter sets. As you get stronger, you can increase your speed, weights and intensity so you continue to challenge yourself. To avoid injury, be sure to warm up for at least five minutes and complete your sweat session with a proper cool down that includes stretching. 
  • Be Ready for a Workout at All Times – Have your workout shoes and equipment at the ready – you never know when a free 10 minutes will become available.  Even five minutes is enough to get a few exercises in.  Body-weight squats are one great example of a quick and very effective workout that can be done anywhere, anytime. 
  • Schedule Your Workout – Make getting back in shape a priority. Schedule your workouts at times they will not be easy to cancel. It’s best to schedule your sweat session at the same time every day so you create a habit. Break a sweat first thing in the morning, or make sure you fit a workout in during your lunch break or after work. Think of your workout as an important appointment you can’t miss. 
  • Make It Fun – Try out a new fitness class or follow some fitness bloggers for ideas on new workouts you can try. Grab a friend to join you. Having a social aspect to exercising can boost your commitment, and you can hold each other accountable. If you have a dog, take it for daily walks. Have kids? Play tag with them at the playground. Varying your routine and alternating activities can also keep your workout session fresh and exciting. 
  • Commit to a One-Month Challenge – A great way to make exercise a habit again is to take on a one-month challenge. A lot of fitness bloggers, gyms, yoga studios and boot camps offer these challenges. If you focus on taking it one month at a time, your overall fitness goals won’t feel so overwhelming. The challenge will also help you get back in good exercise habits. 
  • Be Patient – Don’t fret if you’re unhappy with your progress. It will take time to build yourself back to the level of fitness you were at before your break. Resist the urge to push yourself. Trust your body’s signals to let you know when you need to stop or rest. Pushing yourself can result in an injury, which will force you to again take even more time out from your workout routine. 

Good luck on your quest for a healthier you! Eating healthy also is a big component of bouncing back into shape. Get some nutritious and delicious recipe ideas from our health experts here.