5 Tips For Returning To The Gym After A Long Break
The thought of stepping a foot in a gym after being away for so long can nearly be a nerve-wracking one, but it is also an opportunity to challenge ourselves with the goal of getting into our regular exercise routine again – so let’s have a look at some pointers on how to get back into the swing of things after taking some time off!
Like most of us, you might be feeling that you’ve lost all of your progress, or that you won’t be able to run as far as you used to run, or lift as heavy as you used to lift, but we are here to remind you that you will need to be patient. You need to trust the process and know that as long as you are consistent and continue to work out, you will return to normal within a few weeks. Work with the strength and energy that you have now, and be patient, if you try to push yourself too hard from the get-go, all you are going to do is increase your risk of injury, which could lead you to spend even more time out of the gym.
Take It Slow
As tempting as it may be, it’s not a good idea to jump straight back into your old, pre-lockdown workout routine. Your body needs to adapt and build itself back up to how it used to be, if you go straight back into your old workout you run a very high risk of muscle damage, prolonged recovery time, and increased risk of injury.
Sadly, regardless of if you are a runner, lifter, cyclist, etc, taking time away from exercise means that you will lose some of your conditioning – this does not mean that you can never get back to the same level or even surpass that level, it simply means that you might want to start at a lower running speed or lift lighter weights for a couple of weeks until you get used to it again.
Prepare for Muscle Aches and Pains
If you haven’t been exercising particular muscles in a while, you should expect those muscles to be tender and sore for around 12-72 hours after your workout – this is called delayed onset muscles soreness (DOMS) and if you have experienced this pain before, you know it’s something to avoid if you can. To combat this, take it easy for your first few workouts and be sure to space your workouts out and give yourself some rest days to recover.
Don’t Skip A Warm Up
Warming up before a workout will prepare your body for movement, it will promote blood flow to exercising muscles and reduce your risk of injury – which is incredibly important after a long period of inactivity. So be sure to give yourself about 5-10 minutes to warm up before your main exercise session.
Sleep and Diet
Sleep is the most wonderful recovery tool, and it’s free. So when you get back into the gym, remember to get your 7-9 hours of sleep. Along with this, if your calorie output through exercise goes up, you will need to give your body the nutrients to recover from the higher level of exercise, so stocking up on essentials and getting yourself organised in advance is important for a good routine.
Taking post-workout supplements for recovery and fueling up on the right foods are also important: take a look at some protein supplements options here.
Remember that no matter what your fitness level is, you can always improve when you put your mind to it, so set realistic goals, go easy on yourself – and most importantly, have fun and enjoy your new fitness journey!