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Easing Back Into Exercise

[published: 04/26/2017] in Exercise

How to ease back into working out

There are many reasons why you might stop working out for an extended period of time, including injury, work and weather.  On returning to exercise, you may find that your body feels different and does not perform as it did before and you may be more prone to injury. Follow some tips to help you get back into shape after a break from exercise.

Consult Your Physician
The American College of Sports Medicine suggests that you consult your doctor before returning to exercise if you have not exercised for three months or more. It is especially important to speak to your doctor if you suffer from any chronic conditions, such as heart disease, diabetes or arthritis. Your physician can advise you on the best ways to return to exercise.

Start Slowly
When returning to exercise after a prolonged absence, remember to start slowly. You can return to the same exercises you previously did, but at a lower intensity. For example, if you were a runner, return by starting with walking and building through a jog to a run.  Aim to work out two to three times per week and keep sessions less than 45 minutes for the first two to four weeks. Extend your warm-up and cool down to protect muscles and joints from injury. As your fitness increases you can add more workouts per week and increase the time spent working out. You will know you are ready to progress when your workout routine is no longer challenging.

Enjoy It
The number one reason people give up exercise is boredom. When choosing an activity to ease back into shape, choose one that you will enjoy and even look forward to. Find a friend to work out with you.  If you have a dog, consider daily walks — it’s good for both of you.  Varying your routine and alternating activities can also keep your workout session fresh and exciting.

Be Patient
It will take time to build yourself back to the level of fitness you were at before your break, so don't expect too much too soon. Your body is adaptive and will usually return to normal after six weeks of modified exercise. Trust your body’s signals, such as fatigue, to let you know when you have reached your limit for each session. Do not wait until you are in pain to stop. Stop when you feel your muscles tiring. Pushing yourself can result in an injury, which will force you to again take time out from your workout routine.