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Updated: Apr 8

Jump Straight back into exercise with these simple steps

It is that time of year when a lot of people are thinking about getting back on track with their health and fitness ahead of those pending summer months.

Returning to exercise can be a daunting prospect but you are not alone we have all been there! This time last year, after a freak accident and short stay in hospital my training was put on hold and my confidence plummeted, both in and outside of the gym. At times giving up on my fitness journey seemed the easier choice but 12 months on I am so glad I didn't chose that option. Which is why I wanted to share my top tips with you.

(Whilst this is focused on returning to exercise, if you are starting out on a fitness journey for the first time the same principles apply)

#1 - Patience

In fitness, as in life, patience is a virtue.

No matter how hard you work, your body won’t be built in a day. It has likely taken a few months if not years to 'get' the body you have now so you cannot expect to reverse this in a week. Your body needs time to adapt and your muscles need time to grow and recover.

One of the biggest reasons for failure is people get discouraged as they don’t see the results they were after immediately or the scales don’t budge for a few days, but that is all part of the process.

Fitness and exercise should be a journey and ultimately a way of life, not something you do for a few weeks or months and then stop. However, if you develop good habits these become the ‘norm’ and the challenge becomes giving yourself a break on rest days (believe me it does happen!)

#2 - Make "SMART" Goals

It's important to set achievable but challenging goals when restarting your fitness journey and remember be patient!

"Smart" goals will help you stay motivated and provide a clear sense of direction as to what you are trying to achieve. They will help you make the right choices on the tough unmotivated days.

Watch this space for more information on "SMART" goal setting

#3 - Listen to Your Body

If you have had a while off, especially due to injury do not throw yourself straight back into intense exercise, otherwise you risk injury again.

Think about some low – impact exercises such as swimming, walking, cycling or low weight stable resistance exercises such as body weight squats. Over time you can increase the intensity of your workouts to adjust for your increasing fitness level. But be mindful of how your body feels, and adjust your workouts accordingly.

You need to give both your mind and body a chance to get use to the new routine which, like your goals should be realistic. Whilst you may wish to fit in as many sessions as possible in the first week to make up for lost time, this is not realistic nor sustainable, and if you don’t injure yourself, you will burn out and give up.

#4 - Mix it up

A varied and balanced plan is key to staying motivated and achieving your long term goals. Where possible you should try to include a mix of cardiovascular exercise, resistance training and flexibility / stretching work.

Whatever your specific goals are, cardiovascular exercise is great for your heart and general health. Resistance training builds muscle which not only aids support and stability but also increases your metabolism. Flexibility / stretching work will increase your range of motion, again reducing the risk of injury. It is also a great way to de stress and relax.

#5 -Balanced and nutritious diet

You cannot out train a bad diet! It is a lot easier to consume 300 calories than it is to burn 300 calories through exercise. However, more importantly you need to ensure your body has sufficient nutrients and minerals to both support your work outs but also aid recovery.

Protein will not only keep you fuller for longer but it is also the building block to repair and grow your muscles. Carbohydrates are required to fuel your work out, and don’t forget ‘healthy’ fat is essential in any diet and has many roles to play in our bodies.

There you have it, getting back into exercise doesn't have to be a big deal. Just remember fitness is a journey which is a marathon not a sprint, but make sure you celebrate the small successes along the way. Stop comparing yourself to what you used to do, or to others, and instead look to the future and where you want to be. There will be harder days and set backs but make sure you learn from these, be kind to yourself and enjoy it!

Have you previously had to hit the reset button?

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