Haven't been to the gym for awhile? Did the holiday's creep up on you and your still finding it difficult to get back to an exercise routine? Busy lives can easily result in missing time at the gym, stopping our normal exercise routine or deciding you don't have time to exercise.
But this can also happen when you've caught a cold or flu. I recently was sick and couldn't work out for a week. I definitely felt the difference when I was finally able to get back to the gym. It was hard to get up at 4:30 in the morning to get to the gym before work. Plus, it was hard to get back into the routine of cardio and weights. But I did it! I started slow and didn't push myself to do my full routine before I was sick. After all, I didn't want to relapse and get sick again.
There are many reasons why we leave our exercise routine. Did you know that by exercising you are not only strengthening your body, you are also helping the digestive system to remain strong? Exercise helps strengthen the stomach muscles which helps move food through the digestive tract. Healthy bowel movements are a sign your exercise routine is working!
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Below are 4 easy steps to get back into an exercise routine. As you consider these steps, make sure to check with your doctor to make sure it is safe for you to start exercising again. Especially if you've had a serious illness or injury.
As I mentioned, start easy! If it has been awhile since you've been to the gym, don't try to do a lot all at once. If you overdo it the first couple of days back, it will be really easy for you to stop. Building endurance and strength takes time. It takes at least 8 weeks to build muscle!
Before going to a gym, you can start at home by taking free classes on You Tube. There are a lot of classes, from intense cardio workouts to yoga to everything in between. A lot of classes are 15 minutes long, which is great when you are just beginning. It helps you start to get back into a routine and ease into it at the same time.
If going to a gym or taking a You Tube class doesn't appeal to you, then start by taking a 15 minute walk, every day. This can easily be done during a lunch break or after dinner. Who knows, maybe you'll get others in the office or in your family to take a walk with you. Once you feel like you've started to build a routine, increase the amount of time per walk or number of times you walk per day. You'll be amazed how walking can easily fit into your routine.
Schedule the time! If you belong to a gym, write down when you are going and what you are going to do. If you are going to take a class at a studio or a gym, put that in your calendar. If you are going to walk during the day, write down when and how long.
I find if I put something in my schedule or on my to-do list, I am more likely to actually do what I scheduled.The point here is to make the time. I know it is hard after an extended time away from exercising to get back into a routine. But you don't have to do something physical everyday. You can start with three times a week. That is plenty to get you back into a routine. Plus, one of those days could be Saturday. It doesn't have to be during the week.
Find something you really like doing. Do you like riding a bike? Do you like Zumba? Do you like circuit training? Do you like group classes? By finding an exercise that you really enjoy doing, you are going to stick with it and even may look forward to taking it. Realize that the time you invest in yourself and your health makes you an even better spouse, father, mother, friend, sister, brother or significant other because you are taking care of yourself. You can't take care of others unless you take care of yourself first.
Tell your social network your exercise goals. Better yet, ask others to join you. There is strength in numbers. By telling people what your goals are, they are going to ask you about how you are doing making you accountable. In the world of social sharing, there is a sense of accomplishment as you tell your network your progress. Plus, you will see visible results over time. If others join you, then you can have discussions about what workouts you did and share tips. Finally, write down the reasons why you want to be healthy or why you want to exercise. Keep the list handy. It will keep you motivated when you may need it the most!
Ultimately, regular exercise is a necessary activity for life. Studies show that exercise not only helps you maintain a healthy weight and reduce your risk for disease, but it can help you improve your mood and mental health. (Source: CDC). Do you think any of these steps will help you get back into an exercise routine? If so, let me know which ones in the comments below.