Over the course of the year, a lot of people have dropped their usual exercise routine. This is not a problem specific to any year though, people often stop exercising for a period of time. Illness or time of year often can force people to stop exercising. People frequently try to get right back into their exercise habits as if they hadn’t taken a break. There are inherent risks with this though as a person can end up injuring themselves, causing them to stop exercising again, or they overstress their systems, causing other problems. After a break, it is best to ease back into an exercise routine. Treating the resumption of exercise as if you are just starting for the first time is the best way to protect your body from the stress of exercise. That also means you can use the same process if you are just getting started with a regular exercise routine.
Most people exercise to stay in shape, but the most critical aspect is that exercise helps to sync your mind and body. Exercise can help a person be healthier, but the brain begins to produce chemicals that make a person feel better. This establishes a positive connection between the mind and body. To strengthen this, spend a week lying down and doing a daily set of muscle contraction and relaxation exercises, then reduce it to a few times a week. This forces you to focus on your body and its reaction to the tension applied to it. Make sure to pay attention to your breathing as well; this is best done with your eyes closed. Tense and release the muscles in the following locations, one at a time:
- Jaw by clenching your teeth
- Hands by making fists that will tense all the way up your arms
- Glutes and abs
- Toes by curling them so that it will tense all the way up your legs
Start to focus more on your posture. Being more aware of your posture from the beginning can reduce the risks you put on your body as you exercise. Keeping your posture aligned (instead of slouching) also helps you to breathe better as you exercise. If you have good posture, it is easier to take deeper breaths, moving your ribs with each intake and exhale. One way to improve both is to sit with good posture and to focus on breathing. By taking a couple of minutes every day to sit up properly and breathe, you will have a better idea of how you should be positioned while you are exercising. Just 5 to 10 breaths with good posture every day should be more than enough to help. A longer walk every day is another way for you to focus on your posture while actually exercising. It is best to ease into it than to start jogging right off the bat. By combining good posture with walking, you will increase the likelihood that you will continue to have good posture as you move into more vigorous workouts. Just 5 to 10 minutes can be a good starting point. However, if you are still in pretty good shape, a good 30 to 45 minute walk is fine. Just make sure you try to focus on your posture while you walk.
Develop a long-term plan to ensure that you continue to exercise, no matter how busy you are. There are two things to focus on for this.
- Dedicate 30 to 45 minutes to exercise every day. It’s too easy to make excuses not to exercise, but you don’t do that for eating or other necessities. Block out time to exercise, then do it every day at the same time so that you will be far more likely to keep going.
- Determine where you will work out. Going to a gym often requires more time requirements, which makes it easier to skip. You can plan to exercise at the gym, but make sure you have a backup location so that on busy days or when there are other problems that prevent you from getting to the gym, you still get your daily exercise. If you exercise at home, make sure to have a dedicated space so you aren’t distracted by other things while you workout.
This is one of seven blogs focused on getting back into exercising. If you would like to learn more details about the steps covered here or to read the follow up articles as you exercise more, start with How to Reboot Your Workout Routine: Let’s Set the Foundation.