Want to start exercising again? These fun + simple tips will help you ease back into a workout routine you can stick with.
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I don't know about you, but I always get a little sidetracked with my exercise routine over the winter. But this year, the days between my workouts turned to weeks, and then into months. Please tell me I'm not alone!
Now that spring is here, I'm ready to recommit and start exercising again.
Getting started really is the hardest part. Are you trying to figure out how to start exercising after years or months off, too? Let's do this together!
Today, I'm sharing my fave tips for how to ease back into working out.
How to Start Exercising Again
If you are asking yourself "How do I start exercising again?" my tried-and-true tips will for easing back into working out are a great place to start.
There's no reason to do all 10 of these tips at once. Pick one, and then once you master it, move on to another. That way, you won't get overwhelmed, and before you know it, you'll have a consistent exercise routine going!
1. Schedule Your Exercise Plans
If you want to start exercising again, my best tip is to schedule your exercise plans in your calendar, just like you would a meeting or birthday party.
I suggest looking at your calendar on Sunday and planning your workouts around that week's events (meetings, dinners, school activities, etc.). Then write down your exercise schedule in a daily planner, online calendar, or create a reminder in your phone.
Make sure to schedule a specific time for your workout. Are you going to get up early or exercise after work? It really doesn't matter which you choose, as long as you stick to it.
If you're starting from zero, aim for 20 to 30 minutes of moderate exercise, 3 days a week. Then, you can gradually add more time and extra days as you become more fit Tip: the CDC recommends 150 minutes per week, or 30 minutes a day / five days a week.
2. Be Kind to Your Body
When you're trying to get in shape after a period of inactivity, it can be so tempting to jump in whole hog. You know what I mean ... intense workouts every day of the week so you can drop those extra pounds ASAP!
The temptation is strong ... ha ha. Unfortunately, this is a great way to get overwhelmed or even injured.
Instead, listen to your body and slow down. If something doesn't feel right, don't do it. Is the instructor offering exercise modifications? Don't be too proud to try them. When you're trying to get back into working out, focusing on consistency, not intensity, is the key!
3. Choose Workouts You Enjoy
When you're trying to get back into shape after years or months of inactivity, the thought of any exercise can seem seriously unpleasant. Right?
That's why it's so important to choose workout that you'll actually enjoy! If you hate running (guilty!), don't do it just because it seems like the best way to get fit. You'll never keep it up.
Instead, find an exercise program that you love. It could be anything: water aerobics, yoga, pilates, cross fit, walking ... try them all until you find something you enjoy.
My faves are walking, swimming, and yoga, but I have a love/hate affair with more intense cardio, like HIIT, too!
4. Drink Lots of Water
There's nothing wrong with the occasional soda or sweetened drink, but once you start working out again, you'll want to make sure you're drinking plenty of water, too.
It's easy to forget to stay hydrated, but I have a couple simple tricks. Keep a glass or a water bottle by your side at all times, including at your office. And get a pitcher with a built-in filter for your refrigerator so you'll always have crisp, cold water on hand.
If you think plain water is too boring, try experimenting with infused water. Adding fruit and citrus to your water is a simple way to add flavor without adding extra calories, sugar, or artificial sweeteners. I also love unsweetened ice tea when I'm craving something different!
5. Treat Yourself to Cute Exercise Clothes
It sounds silly, but a cute outfit is great workout motivation. Plus, if you spend a little money on clothes, you may even feel compelled to exercise!
You really don't need to spend a lot. A pair of black capris will go with everything, so get one great pair. Then, spend a few dollars on cute tops, and you'll be all set.
And while we're talking about clothes, let's stop the negative self-talk. You look fine, and most people are too worried about their own issues to focus on you any way.
Our internal monologues can be our own worst enemies. So any time a negative thought pops into your head about how you look, change the subject!
6. Make Sure to Warm up and Cool Down
If you want to avoid aches and pains, it's important to warm up before and cool down after your workouts.
I love exercising at home and like to switch things up with online workouts and exercise DVDs. These workouts tend to be pretty poor in the warm up / cool down department though, especially those quick 15 to 20 minute routines.
Whether you're working out at home or the gym, an easy way to warm up is simply walking briskly around the block or even marching in place. Do some jumping jacks if you really want to get your heart rate up.
When it's time to cool down, you can do another slower walk and then some easy stretches. Focus on the muscles you used during your exercise routine.
Tip: Learn how to safely warm up and cool down with these simple tips from the Mayo Clinic!
7. Work Fitness into Your Everyday Routine
If you really want to get back into shape, you need to think about fitness as a lifestyle change rather than as a quick weight loss fix.
Being active shouldn't be limited to 30 minutes out of your day. Work it into your everyday routine instead. It's easier to create this healthy habit than you think ... here are some simple ways to do it:
- Take a 10 minute walk during your lunch break.
- Skip the elevator and take the stairs.
- Meet your friends for a hike or spin class and then get dinner.
- Park farther away from the store.
- Take public transportation instead of driving.
- Get an activity tracker to monitor your daily steps. I love using my Fitbit for this!
- Take regular breaks throughout your day to step away from your computer. Set reminders if you need to.
- Do a few easy stretches first thing in the morning. I like doing a few rounds of sun salutations to wake up my body.
8. Sign Up for a 30 Day Challenge
It's always good to have goals when you're trying to create healthy habits. So if you want something to work toward, sign up for a 30 day challenge.
When it comes to 30 day challenges, you can find apps, exercise routines, and more. Create your own or look for one online (a simple internet search should get you started).
Once you decide on your challenge, I recommend printing out a blank calendar and checking off the days as you go along ... it's very satisfying! If you miss a day, it's not the end of the world. Just keep on going.
Of course, make sure you have a plan in place to continue your exercise goals after the 30 day challenge, too!
9. Take a Day Off
Like I mentioned earlier, it's tempting to go all in when you start a new exercise routine. You'll definitely want to take at least one day off every week though.
Taking a break allows your muscles and spirit to recharge. So don't skip it!
Just because you're taking a day off doesn't mean you need to be a couch potato, although that's totally fine occasionally. Why not make the most of your beautiful day off though and go to the farmer's market, relax and do some meditating, go to an outdoor fair, do a little gardening, or simply spend the afternoon taking photos of your neighborhood?
10. Support Your New Habits with a Healthy Diet
If you want to create a healthy lifestyle or lose weight, it's equally (if not more) important to watch what you eat than it is to exercise.
Thankfully, once you start exercising again, you'll be motivated to see positive results ... which means eating well, too! Healthy eating is different for everyone, but it doesn't have to mean deprivation, that's for sure.
Check out these 10 Easy Tips for Eating Better, or get inspired by creating a new Pinterest board (follow me for lots of yummy ideas!). Add all the recipes that you want to try to it, then get cooking.
I also find it helpful to track what I eat ... it keeps me honest! You can use an app for this, or use my free printable food and fitness tracker to log everything.
Ready to get started?
I hope you found these tips for how to ease back into working out useful! Are you trying to start exercising again, too? What are your favorite tips for getting back in shape?
Note: I am not a medical expert, and this post is not medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding medical conditions and other health issues.