Coming back to exercise after a long hiatus – especially one due to illness, recovering from childbirth or a bout with depression – can be a challenging and daunting task. You’re desperate to get back out there and get back in shape, but it’s hard. You may feel that you’ve lost so much of your strength and motivation that you’ll never get back to peak performance again. It can be tempting to give up before you even try.
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But fitness isn’t an all-or-nothing game. Physical fitness is just one of the many benefits offered to you with exercise – exercise is also miraculous for your mental health, aerobic activity gets your heart pumping and increases your immune system, and for many of us, exercise can be social, too, which we all desperately need more of. Easing back into exercise should be more about feeling happy and healthy again, rather than goals of weight loss, peak physical fitness or aesthetics.
And it’s easier than you think to get back to it – below we’ve outlined a few ways to ease back into an exercise routine that will have you back in the swing of things in no time.
Running or jogging is a great way to ease back into exercise because it’s such a versatile sport. You can fit a quick run in before work, after work, on your lunch break, on the weekends…run by yourself, if that’s how you like to exercise, with your partner or children, or with a friend. You can even join a running club and meet up with like-minded folks who run at your speed and fitness level.
Apps like Strava, Couch to 5K and Run, Zombies, Run are super-fun ways to stay engaged with technology and help track your run, motivate you to do more, and compare with other runners. Train for that 5k or just jog for pleasure at your own pace; the important part is to just get moving.
Spin Your Wheels
Cycling is a great ease-back-in activity for most of the same reasons that running is. And it’s even more low impact. Whether you enjoy cycling on the road with a group (look in your area for local cycling clubs and group rides; almost every town has one – or twenty), prefer mountain biking, enjoy sweating with a spin class, or DMX is your thing, there are tons of different cycling experiences to help you get back into shape and burn some serious calories.
It’s Fun to Stay at the…
For a lot of folks, joining a gym is a commitment they just can’t quite justify. Whether it’s a money-saving thing or they just don’t want to commit to something long term, it can be a little daunting to join a gym if you’re self-conscious about your fitness level, abilities or appearance.
A great way to ease into the gym experience is to join the local YMCA or other similar community gyms. In addition to the usual “gym experience”, with equipment, weights and super-buff clientele, the YMCA also has heated pools, low-impact exercise classes for seniors, those with disabilities and yes, people who are just getting back into exercise. They also have community activities, tracks for low impact walking or jogging, team sports and clubs to join, and a host of other community and fitness oriented activities. For so many, it’s a great way to get that gym experience without all of the pressure, and both single and family plans are super affordable.
Best of all, any classes you take are at your own particular fitness level, with most being offered for beginners, moderate or expert levels. You choose how hard you exercise!
These are just a slice of the activities you can do if you’re easing back into an active lifestyle. There are so many more. At the end of the day, though, it doesn’t matter what exercise you choose – all that matters is that you’re staying active and keeping on the move. Happy exercising and welcome back!