Whether you were ill, on vacation or just needed a rest, getting back to working out after an absence can be tough. Not only is it mentally challenging; it’s physically important to do it right to prevent injury.
In other words — ease your way back in.
How you get back to your workout is based on how long you were gone and the reason. Was it surgery or illness, vacation or work? The most important thing to remember is to take care of yourself and prevent quick burnout or regression.
Don’t expect to jump back into it right where you left off. All that time off changed your body, and you’ll need to get back into it slowly to prevent hurting yourself.
You may even be disappointed in yourself if you can’t lift the same weight or run as far without getting winded. Give yourself a break.
Start with stretching to help your body get back into the groove. Integrate a few days of flexibility workouts to increase blood flow and circulation. These also help your range of motion and joint mobility, which can decrease your chance of injury.
Focus on your form. Proper form is key to getting the most out of any exercise and restarting a routine is a good time to concentrate on doing an exercise properly to build muscle memory.
Because it’s been some time since you worked out, you may need a reminder to flatten your back, stand up straight or hold in your abs. Proper form also helps prevent injury.
If it’s been a long break since you worked out, you may want to think about some new equipment. Maybe new shoes, a new yoga mat or some new workout gear to get you in the mood.
Now that you are easing back in, add some cardio. Try integrating light cardio workouts after stretching or yoga. A 20-minute walk can stimulate your mind and get your body moving again. Inside or outdoors, treadmill, elliptical or rowing machine, get that cardio going.
You also can go for a low-impact HIIT workout to get back into it. Just remember not to push yourself too hard.
After easing back into flexibility and light cardio, it’s now time to incorporate strength workouts. Exercises like squats, lunges, planks and core work can help. TRX and bodyweight workouts are ideal and create a safe transition because you can work within your fitness level.
The CDC recommends weekly goals of 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity (like brisk walking) or 75 minutes of high-intensity aerobic workouts (like running). Strength-training activities make a full-rounded workout.
Finally, don’t forget to rest. Give your muscles time to recover so you can be ready to kill your next workout and avoid injuries.