Did you gain the dreaded “Quarantine 15?” Maybe you took all that “work out in your living room” advice with a grain of salt. However, now that swimsuit season is here, and things are reopening, you realize you need to pay more attention to your body.
Fitness does so much more than toning muscles and burning off unwanted calories. It can help you prevent various diseases, too. However, if you use improper techniques or push yourself too hard, you could end up on the disabled list. Here are seven tips for getting back into the swing of physical activity.
1. Take It Slow
You probably heard this advice before — but you insist on spending a full hour at the gym when it reopens. Two days later, your legs are so sore that you can barely move, and you wonder why you subjected yourself to such torture.
How much you trim from your previous routine depends on how long you have sat on the bench. If you have only skipped the last two to three weeks of workouts, you can probably handle three-quarters of your prior circuit without problems. If you spent the entire government shutdown on the couch, cut your time and your intensity in half as you ease back into fitness.
2. Try Something New
If the thought of slogging through your previous routine leaves you wanting to binge on Netflix instead, why not take this opportunity to try something new? 2020 offers a ton of hot new fitness trends, including high-tech at-home options to new cardio dance workouts. Your mind craves the challenge of mastering new moves, and doing so engages a wide range of muscle groups, some of which you may have neglected.
3. Enlist a Friend
If you are like many folks, you probably miss hanging out with your best friend. However, even as restrictions lift, social distancing rules still apply. Running side-by-side means inhaling a ton of droplets as you both breathe more heavily. Many gyms now provide more space between equipment, and some have implemented mask-only hours as participants return. That said, you can still encourage each other by making it a date — just keep a safe distance.
Another idea for those not ready to emerge from quarantine yet is to set up an accountability partnership. All you need to do is agree to text your friend daily to report your workout activity and ask about theirs. Sometimes, reading, “I ran two miles today,” is enough to inspire you to get off the couch.
4. Make It Convenient
Maybe you discovered that you prefer working out from home because you like not having to fix your hair or locate parking. One of the best ways to ensure that you stick with your new routine is to make it convenient. If you survived the shutdown with your income intact, now is an ideal time to pick up home training equipment that you can use while you watch TV. You don’t need to spring for a Peloton unless you want to — you can find inexpensive fitness bands and light hand weights at nearly any department store.
5. Rally Family Support
Your family can be your fitness routine’s best friends — or its worst enemies. Inform your loved ones about your goals and ask for their support. They don’t need to don cheerleading uniforms, but they should refrain from behaviors like pushing you to eat one more slice of grandma’s apple pie. They can also suggest activities that get you moving, like gardening or walking, instead of always kicking back for movie night immediately after dinner.
6. Do a Little Retail Therapy
When you look good in your workout duds, you want to sweat in them. Fortunately, you can find styles that flatter any body type and size. If you have the money to spend, a cute new set of leggings and an adorable sports bra give you the incentive to don them and get moving.
7. Listen to Your Body
Finally, the worst thing you can do as you return to your fitness routine is to try to push through the pain. Yes, you can workout with DOMS, and you might feel better depending on the format you select — yoga is an ideal recovery tool. However, if you experience persistent pain in your knee when you run or backaches when you lift, you should see your doctor to rule out more severe conditions. If you insist on doing HIIT with patellar tendonitis, you could find yourself on the disabled list on a more long-term basis.
Getting Back Into Working Out? Try These Tips to Ease the Transition
As you ease yourself back into your fitness routine, take it slow and listen to your body. By following these tips, you’ll be back up to speed in no time.