Top tips for getting back into fitness

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Life happens; even the most committed fitness fanatics have phases where workouts take a backseat while other life events play out. While it happens to everyone, it can feel disheartening if you lose your groove. This is especially the case if exercise is important to you for health reasons, like managing stress or a long-term health condition. However, it is easy to start a routine again; you have to put your mind to it and commit to making it a priority and habit. 

If you've taken a break from your regular workout routine, no matter what the reason, these top tips will get you back in the zone. 


Remind yourself why you want to exercise 

Everybody has their personal reasons for wanting to get back into exercise. Perhaps you want to lose weight to boost your confidence, or you have a big event coming up, like a wedding. Or maybe you've just had a baby. You may have a health condition that will improve with weight management. 

But exercise doesn't have to be just about your physical fitness and appearance. Mental health plays a significant role in wellbeing, and exercise has been proven to help manage feelings of stress and anxiety. Activities like yoga and walking can boost your happiness and reduce negative emotions. At the same time, a kickboxing session can be great for the days when you feel angry at everything. 

Cedric Bryant, who is president and chief science officer at the American Council on Exercise, explains, 'Too often people focus on the common [motivators] in terms of weight, or they have a health scare, or they want it for someone else. You have to start examining why. Ask, 'why do I want to make this switch?' It really has to be focused on things that are really meaningful for you as the individual and finding your right why.'

Whatever your reason, write it down somewhere you can see it every day. This will no doubt help keep you on track and remind you why you're exercising on the days you don't feel like doing it. 


Create a vision board

Creating a vision board is great for people who like picturing their goals. You could create a Pinterest board with meal and workout inspiration or a vision board for your bedroom with photos of yourself at your ideal weight or from a celebrity you aspire to look like. Remember above all else to be kind to yourself during this process. Not every desire is attainable, but it can be a great way to get excited about your new fitness regime. 


Start slow and easy 

The most important thing to remember when exercising after a long break is to go easy and take it slow. Many people make the mistake of overdoing it in the first session or two, so they end up hurting themselves or feeling too sore from working out again anytime soon. Your body needs time to readjust to activity, so consider low-intensity workouts like walking for the first week. A 2015 study that was published in the Journal of Rehabilitation Medicine revealed that taking a break from exercise for just two weeks can result in significant muscle strength and mass reduction, and it can take longer to return. 

Walking is an excellent exercise and can be a social experience if you have a dog or ask a friend to join. Start with a 15-minute walk every day, then the following week, make it 20 minutes, then 30 the next, and so forth. It's also a good idea to master the basics, such as stretching and strength training exercises like squats, lunges, and the plank. Before you start a vigorous program, master these basics and make sure you have the correct form to prevent injury. Ask a fitness coach or personal trainer for guidance if you need more clarification. 


Try the five-minute rule

Echoing the mantra of taking it slow, if the idea of a 30-minute workout seems daunting, start with five minutes. If you complete your five minutes and feel like you need to stop, then you can go about your day knowing you've made that small positive action. You will feel really good about it. However, you might want to keep going, which is fantastic! What is important is making that commitment to five minutes. You never know, do you, where it might take you.


Buy some new sportswear

It's a new year and you're going to make sure it brings a new you! Boost your confidence and motivation with a new fitness outfit. There's so much to choose from in terms of colors and patterns, but make sure you choose something practical that will provide the best comfort and flexibility. Popular sports brands include Adidas, Nike, and Puma. But there are also a lot of fantastic smaller companies that create high-quality, durable sportswear. If you need help finding what you're looking for, you could speak to the likes of, who could advise you on the best materials and even support you in designing your own custom sportswear.


Create a schedule 

Creating a schedule can be a great way to stay on track when life gets busy. Your program could be as simple as committing to workouts three times a week or, more specifically, exercising at 7 am every morning. 

Remember your general wellbeing in your schedule. Factor in rest days and ensure you eat well, stretch between workouts, and get plenty of restful sleep. 


Join the gym 

Joining the gym is a great way to kickstart your exercise regime. You will have access to various exercise machines, classes, and, if lucky, even a swimming pool and sauna! 

Classes are a great way to meet new people and get a decent workout. You will be guided by a professional so you can be confident you're doing the best movements for your body. 


Exercise in nature!

The gym is only for some. Exercising in nature is a fantastic way to get fresh air and reconnect with the outdoor world. Being in nature has been proven to help manage stress, anxiety, and depression. So, if you struggle to find time to be outdoors with a busy schedule, fitting the two into one session is a great solution. 

Even if you live in a bustling, sprawling city like New York, going for a jog around your local park can make all the difference. Just 20 minutes outside has positive effects on your mental health and wellbeing. 


Find a fitness buddy 

Finding the motivation to work out can be challenging, even for people with the best intentions. If you have a friend or partner keen to join, sync up and commit to the journey together. You will keep each other accountable and help motivate each another. Going to a new class or gym can also feel less daunting if you go with someone you know! 


Start a one-month challenge 

Still trying to figure out where to start? A one-month challenge is a great way to get back into fitness. You can do many types of challenges, such as a squat challenge, where the number of squats increases every week, or a running challenge, where you increase the distance every few days. 

You could also have a look online for programs created by professionals. They often provide a schedule you can work through, sometimes via an app or purchased directly from them. There are also plenty of free challenges and programs you can use. Just take a look at the likes of YouTube. 


Push through the hard times

Unfortunately, no matter how good your routine gets, you'll eventually have a week where you want to avoid exercising. It's essential to listen to your body, so if you have an injury, rest and speak to a professional to ensure you don't cause further damage. However, when you hit the exercise rut, although known as 'the fight thru,' you need every ounce of mental commitment to winning. 

The fight thru is when the honeymoon period of something ends and reality kicks in. This might look like waking up in winter to go to the gym when it's cold and dark outside. Not very inspiring, is it? Or you had a long week at work, and all you want to do is hibernate all weekend watching Netflix. In these moments, you will struggle with your new habit and potentially slip back into the place you were before you started getting back into exercise. When you feel like this, start by recognizing what you're feeling. You can tell yourself you'll move through it, and it'll get easier each time. Turn up for your workout even if you only make it very short. The vital aspect is turning up and following through. 

Ask yourself, 'how will I feel if I don't exercise right now?'. This will connect you to your emotions and desires. Look at your vision board and find that flame of inspiration. You can also use the life projection technique, which involves thinking about how you will feel and look in a year. Or even just six months. This visualization can help you through any negative feelings and remind you why you booked that yoga class in the first place! 

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