If you are struggling to start exercising after a long break, this post is for you, I have given you practical and doable ways on how to get back to track with little effort.
2 months ago, I was struggling and desperately looking for ways to start exercising after a long break that I got in my past active life. You might be surprised to know that I was struggling to go for a walk even and this, after having completed my first London Marathon last year. I was in the best shape of my life having trained for my London Marathon but life has thrown a few unforeseen situations at me where I got stuck to my bed for several months(with no physical issues). I was not moving much except for the basic needs and also healthy eating has gone to under covers resulting in a gradual increase in my total body weight. This time I knew it every single day where the fat started piling up but I was so so helpless that I couldn’t take any action to take my own health into my hands.
I was doing long runs every other day consistently for 6 months and hoped to continue. But life had some other plans for me, I gained weight, my fitness levels drastically dropped down right in front of my eyes. It is never too late to do any good things in life, so here am listing some easy to follow to tips for restarting exercise after a long time.
Remind yourself about Past Victories
The above picture says it all. Always remember the best times you had achieving something you are proud of. Be it reducing weight in the past, taking up running or cracking an interview. Anything that made you feel proud of yourself, even if that is shutting your thoughts on any self-harm or coming out of depression or trying doing a task again and again after failing for many times.
Memories of victory gives you strength and confidence to achieve more in life. if you did it in the past, you can do it again. Personally I lost weight consciously twice in my life and every time I gain weight for several reasons, deep inside I knew that i can do this again.
The same goes with exercising too. When am straggling to go for even a 30 min walk daily I remind those days I never used to miss a single run training for my marathon even if that’s on a busy working day. Start slow and build up any habit gradually, you will be unstoppable in no time.
Define your ‘Why’
This should be your million dollar question that will keep you going in any important task of your life. If your body became rusty not doing any exercise, ask yourself why you want to restart working out after a long time. Those answers will help you get out of the bed. Am aiming to exercise
- to reduce weight and keep my heart and body healthy.
- to be able to do manage me physically and mentally in the long run without relying on anyone.
- to be available for my family with good health.
- to look good, feel confident and healthy from inside.
- To reduce my medical and insurance bills.
Find a Support Buddy
I cannot stress enough about this factor. Share your struggles with any of your close buddies that can understand you well and possibly your weaknesses too so they can give you that necessary push without judging you too much.
Also, there are several Facebook weight loss groups and communities filled with like-minded people and many of them might be facing similar struggles like you. Confess with them and take their support. One such supportive group am part of is this Weight Loss Support UK .
Don’t think just GYM
When looking to start exercising after a long break, having no access to the gym is not a blocker. Sure gyms inculcate that group motivation and all that but don’t think just gym. I would personally start with going out for gentle walks and stick to 30-minute a day schedule which will build my habit slowly to do more. You can also workout in your living room as there are plenty of free workout videos available on YouTube. Signup for any virtual classes or schedule zoom sessions with your friends to have that motivation and accountability to each other.
Have you heard of Leslie walks? This is an aiming low and fun workout that you can do from the luxury of your living room.
Target Low-Intensity Workouts
I personally stick to gentle outdoor walks when I look up to start exercising after a long break. Walking is a great way to get into exercise habit again. it is totally free and low-intensity workout . Sticking to a daily 30 minute walk and gradually increasing the time will give you a sense of discipline and push you do more automatically, trust me!
Another low-intensity workout is the cross-trainer. Most of us build up fat in the lower body or arms and this can be a great low-intensity workout without hurting your knees much.
How about taking up swimming as it can be fun playing with water while not feeling the stress of doing exercise.
Keeping high targets at the very beginning of restart phase may take your interest out of it when you fail to reach them. Also your body needs to be slowly trained t avoid any injuries too.
Keep NEXT ONE session as a goal
Many of us when starting to exercise after a long break makes big plans and time tables which is good for planning sake. But many of us will slow down after a few initial sessions and lose momentum. One thing that worked for me was to keep the NEXT session as a goal every time and every day. Smaller goals give you more focus and accountability to track your efforts well. If am not chasing the goal of that ONE session, I sit down and analyse why I am unable to do it, if I succeed making that as a great session, I feel jubilant and that gives me energy for the upcoming exercise session.
Exercise makes you sweat and releases some endorphins that can boost your mood levels. the more you do the more you will want to do.
Nature Walks/Window Shopping/Community Walks
If you are struggling to dedicate exclusive time to start after a long break, start with
- going to nature walks which will not give that heavy mental feeling of having to do exercise. being amidst Nature and greenery will boost your mood and helps you realise the purpose of living and good health. Long dog-walks are another great way to up your miles.
- If you are a shopping person, choose a big shopping mall and do window shopping going into every shop out there. You will build step count in no time without even realizing.
- Community walks – These are absolutely free and fun. Search on Facebook or your local council pages. There will be groups suitable for every age group and doing exercise after a long time along with a bunch of like-minded people will make your life easier.
- Parkrun is a free weekly 5k event that occurs every Saturday at 9 AM which is a positive, welcoming and inclusive experience where there is no time limit and no one finishes last. Just sign-up for free and hit your local park run!
Self Reward Schemes
This is to reward yourself with new workout gear be it shoes or clothes that help you kick-start your journey to start exercise after a long break.
Also reward yourself with weekly eat out and things like ice cream after finishing say for example, 4 hours of exercise a week.
Treat yourself with a glass of wine after sessions of exercise for example etc.
I hope the above tips have given you some rough idea on how to start exercising after a long break. Like anything, there is no limit or perfect way to do anything and these tips on how to start exercising after a long come from my own experiences. If you have any additional tips, please feel free to comment below and I would love to know more. if you are looking for more support articles, check out my weight loss blog.