Easing back into exercise after the long breakMonday, June 14, 2021
WHEN the pandemic hit, many people who relied on the gym to complete their regular workout sessions were impacted by the nationwide lockdown of fitness facilities. This made it quite difficult for them to uphold an effective fitness routine.
But now, with more gyms reopening, your season as a couch potato has come to an end. That said, going back into the fitness world is not always seamless or enjoyable. So while you might be pumped to get back into your old routine, resuming where you left off, unless you were still at beginners' level, might be a tricky terrain. The best way to move forward, teacher of physical education and personal trainer Jason Smith says, is to take your time to ease back into your routine.
To make sure that you are armed with all the resources you will need for your fitness comeback, Smith shares tips below on easing back into the life of fitness:
Always warm up
You should always warm up before an exercise session. This will protect your body against being worn and experiencing a significant range of injuries. A warm-up can be five to 15 minutes in duration and includes taking the body through progressive movements that loosen and stretch your muscles. You can do exercises like walking, high knees, jumping jacks, dynamic stretches, walking lunges, modified burpees, and air squats.
Start with flexibility workouts
The best way to progress into your usual exercise routine is to start with your flexibility workout. You want to prepare those muscles and your joints for the rigours of your workout session. Flexibility workouts, which often includes a variety of stretches, leads to a greater range of motion, improved balance, and increased flexibility in the body.
Now, add some light cardio work
You want to get your heart pumping and ready again for your exercise sessions. After a long period of inactivity, it is good to prepare your heart for prolonged periods of exercise. Activities like swimming, cycling, dancing, jump rope, hiking, and climbing stairs all qualify as cardio exercise.
Incorporate strength training
Next on your to-do list is strength training. Strength training is a key component of overall health and fitness. It focuses on improving muscular fitness by targeting specific muscles or muscle groups against external resistance as well as helps to preserve muscle and enhance mass at any age. Some strength-based techniques include push-ups, pull-ups, planks, lunges, squats, abdominal crunches, bicep curls, using a resistance band, and lifting weights.
Cooling down is a very important part of your exercise regimen. It is designed to help your body repair and recover from the rigours it goes through. The best cooling down exercise is to walk slowly for five to 10 minutes, then do stretches while inhaling and exhaling slowly during each stretch move. Hold each stretch for 10 seconds.
Being in quarantine, many of us made some poor food choices — especially where snacks were concerned. If you are serious about getting back on track, then you will need to start eating a balanced diet or as per your dietary needs. Be reminded that what you eat will affect your results in the gym, but make sure not to starve yourself. Starving yourself is actually more likely to cause weight gain because the body will store what you eat in order to sustain itself. Starving will also rob you of energy necessary to fuel you through exercises.
Set realistic goals
Perhaps the most important step before starting back is knowing what you want to accomplish. Since you are not new to the world of fitness, you will have an idea of what to expect. However, don't be afraid of writing a fresh set of goals. Remember to measure your progress as you ease into your routine and reward yourself as you see fit.
Be patient with yourself
Don't underestimate the value of this piece of advice. Sure enough, your body might have changed while you were out of the gym and it will require some work to get back into shape, but you don't want to pressure your body to the point that it breaks. It's great that you are passionate, driven, and you want to look good in time for summer, but you also don't want to risk injuring yourself.
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