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Do you want to get back into exercise after the holidays? Whether you’re new to exercise or you took a break for a few weeks, don’t worry about being out of shape. Follow these tips to get back on the right track, quickly.
All too often, people begin a workout routine for a few weeks and then give up. After the holidays, motivation is at maximum level, but once we get back into a routine and we are busier with work and family life, it’s very easy to give up the gym if the only reason we went was because we wanted to get fit or lose weight, but actually we didn’t really enjoy it. On the other hand, if we choose an activity that we like, the chances that we’ll be more motivated to continue are much higher. The best exercise isn’t the one that burns most calories, but the ones that gives you pleasure, and that you’ll be able to keep up long term. For example, a yoga or Zumba class can be as beneficial as running for 30 minutes on a treadmill! So, this year, take a look at the possibilities in your local area!
Having a friend to workout with increases motivation and reduces the risk of giving up. As strange as it might seem, we find it easier to give up on ourselves than on a friend! A workout buddy is someone we can share our struggles and progress with. If you can’t find a person who wants to dive into the challenge with you, don’t panic! Join a training group or class. If you like being in your own bubble while training, you can exercise alone the other days of the week, but it’s a good idea to have at least one training session a week in a group or with someone to keep up your motivation in difficult times. Sometimes, training in a group can also help you to improve faster by bringing variety into your workout.
Weighing yourself everyday can be stressful and demotivating. You might find that you lose weight one week and not as much another week, even though you take the same care with your diet and train the same amount. What’s more, weight varies from one day to the next depending on several factors like hydration, dietary choices and physical activity. It’s therefore best to focus on your wellbeing and adopting healthy lifestyle habits. Weight loss will follow regardless!
Choose several small goals rather than one big one. Wanting to lose 50 pounds can be discouraging, but wanting to lose 10 seems easier! It’s also important to fix goals other than weight loss to stay motivated, because you might find your weight sometimes reaches a plateau, which can be frustrating. For example, you could set training goals, like signing up for a race or sporting event. Be proud of the progress you make in fitness and your lifestyle habits. Each small improvement counts!
Even after a short break, it can be disheartening to discover how quickly you lose your fitness! Did you know that cardiovascular fitness starts to diminish after three days of rest? But there’s good news, it comes back quickly, as long as you respect your body and don’t injure it! As for muscles, ligaments and tendons, the longer the break, the more they weaken. The problem is that they take longer to strengthen than the heart. So, we might feel good and want to exercise longer, but we don’t realise that our joints aren’t used to the stress anymore, hence the risk of injury… Another frequent mistake is to train too often or too long to begin with, which can be exhausting and demotivating. Start with 20 to 30 minutes of low intensity exercise two or three days a week with some rest days in between. Increase the frequency, time and intensity progressively. Don’t hesitate to take a break if you need to during your workout. Avoid reminding yourself how fit you were in the past, and instead focus on your current progress.