Wondering how to start exercising after recovering from a slump, injury or illness? It can feel like an insurmountable challenge to get moving after long periods of inactivity. Your body is tired, your energy levels are depleted and the thought of doing any sort of movement often feels virtually impossible.
The thing is, staying inactive after a slump can often end up making it even harder to get moving again. The longer you put it off and the longer you avoid doing any sort of workout (no matter how gentle), the more difficult it becomes to get going again. What happens then that you get into a rut. This puts you at greater risk of depression, making it even harder still.
Before you give up completely, there is some good news. It is not impossible to learn how to start exercising once again. With a bit of will-power or even just the will to take that first step, you can get back into the habit.
How to Start Exercising After Recovery
How exactly do you go from yet another day of doing as little as possible to doing sort of movement? You don’t have to suddenly commit to spending hours at the gym. You don’t have to enter any marathons or do workouts that feel like torture. To get you moving again, here are some tips on how to start exercising after recovery.
If you have a burst of energy or you want to start on a super-charged note, good for you. The thing is, starting with guns blazing and trying to go all out in the first week can all too easily end up badly. There is a good chance that you will get tired and battle to maintain a high pace.
Rather than taking that risk, start small with workouts that you can realistically manage. You could try yoga, for instance, or shorter home workouts.
Aim for one day a week.
Wanting to workout every day of the week is not a bad goal. Chances are good that you might not have the energy to get through many workouts each week. It’s harder to stick to a routine when you are exhausted and still adjusting to the change.
When you set an unrealistic goal and then battle to stick to the goal, you will feel despondent and be more likely to quit completely. When you start with just one day a week, you will have a far higher chance of getting in your workout. You can even do an extra day or two – just make sure you don’t put too much pressure on yourself.
Find something you enjoy.
If you hate the gym and prefer low impact workouts, do not put yourself through exercises that you don’t really enjoy. This will make it easier to quit. If you are having fun, even if you are sweating or pushing yourself, it won’t feel like work. It will feel like something you actually want to do, which makes all the difference in making any habit. Try something like dancing, Pound Fitness, yoga, pilates, belly dancing, HIIT, boxing, walking or swimming.
When I was trying to work out how to start exercising again after a year of chronic sinus issues, I reconnected with my yin yoga practice. I enjoyed it so much that I found it easy to get into daily practice. A month or so ago, I added pilates two or three times a week. I do both at home, in my own space. It has become an essential part of my daily routine that I seriously miss if I have to skip that time for myself.
Go easy on yourself.
Only able to manage half an hour or even 20 minutes? That is ok. Missed a workout or two? That is also ok. You are doing this for YOU. Berating yourself for not being stronger or fitter is not going to do you any favours. All that will do is make it harder to stick to your workout routine.
It takes time getting back to exercise after you have been recovering. You will get there. Be kind to yourself and give yourself permission to rest, too. Pamper yourself after workouts and don’t forget to drink lots of water. Tell yourself that you have got this and that you are doing fine.
Keep a tracker.
One way to motivate yourself is to keep a tracker. Having a schedule with specific days that you have devoted to your exercise will make it easier to get into the habit and stick with the habit. A simple Google Sheet with a checkbox for completed workouts will help you tick off your exercise day and remind yourself that you are slowly but surely getting back to moving again.
There are also a number of apps that keep a record of fitness activity. Try searching in the iTunes or Play store or look online for apps that meet your specific needs.
Don’t forget to reward yourself for all the work you are doing to get back to yourself. Recovering from any situation that has made major changes in your life is no small feat. Burnout, emotional crisis, illness, injury, having a baby or even being in a slump will all take a lot out of you in a big way. Taking the first steps (no pun intended) is one of the biggest steps you will ever take in your journey back to yourself.
That does not mean unhealthy rewards. Rather than heading for the junk food, look for healthy rewards that make you feel good, inside and out. New trainers and workout clothes are a great choice. Pamper days are, too.
Still wondering how to start exercising after a long spell of inactivity? Speak to your doctor if you’re looking for specific information on how to exercise safely after illness or injury. If you have any tips on how to start exercising after being away from movement a long time, share them below.