Return to fitness this Autumn using these pointers
Have you been thinking about getting back into exercise? Perhaps you used to be active but have taken a break, or maybe you’re entirely new to the fitness scene. Regardless of your starting point, embarking on a fitness journey can be both exciting and challenging. To help you navigate this path effectively, we’ve compiled five top tips for getting back into exercise.
1. Graduated Exposure: Slow and Steady Wins the Race
Your body is a remarkable machine capable of adapting to various stresses over time. Whether you’re planning to hit the gym, start jogging, or take up a new sport, remember that your body needs time to adjust. Bones become denser, joints become more resilient, tendons thicken, and muscles strengthen gradually, often over weeks and months rather than days. It’s crucial to respect this process.
Start with manageable workouts that suit your current fitness level. Pushing yourself too hard from the beginning can lead to burnout or even injuries. As you gain confidence and strength, progressively increase the intensity and duration of your workouts. This gradual approach ensures that your body has the opportunity to adapt and reduces the risk of setbacks.
2. Plan Realistically: Set Achievable Goals
Setting goals is essential for motivation and tracking your progress. However, be mindful of setting the bar too high or trying to cram too much exercise into your weekly schedule. Unrealistic expectations can lead to disappointment when you miss sessions, potentially causing you to abandon your fitness plans altogether.
Instead, create a workout schedule that aligns with your lifestyle and commitments. Start with a manageable number of workouts per week, and gradually increase them as you become more consistent and comfortable with your routine. Remember, consistency is key when it comes to fitness.
3. Fuelling Your Body: Eat for Success
Exercise and nutrition go hand in hand. One common mistake people make when starting a new exercise routine is simultaneously adopting a restrictive diet. Drastic reductions in calorie intake while increasing physical activity can deprive your body of the necessary nutrients it needs to adapt to the new demands.
A balanced diet, rich in a variety of foods, is generally sufficient to support your fitness goals. If you’re already following a restrictive diet, such as veganism or a specific food group exclusion, it may be wise to consult a nutritionist to ensure you’re meeting your body’s nutritional needs.
4. Incorporate Strength Work: Protect Your Body
Whether you’re planning to jog, swim, cycle, or engage in a new sport, don’t underestimate the importance of strength training. Recent research highlights the benefits of muscle strengthening in preventing pain and injuries. You don’t need a complicated routine; just dedicating 1-2 sessions per week to basic strength exercises can make a significant difference.
Strength training not only enhances your overall physical resilience but also complements your cardiovascular workouts, helping you perform better and stay injury-free. Consider including exercises that target major muscle groups like squats, lunges, push-ups, and planks in your routine.
5. Equip Yourself: The Right Gear Matters
Having the right equipment can enhance your fitness experience and make your workouts more enjoyable. Depending on your chosen activity, invest in appropriate footwear, clothing, and any necessary gear. Ill-fitting shoes, for example, can lead to discomfort or injury when running or engaging in high-impact sports.
Additionally, consider using fitness apps or wearable devices to track your progress and stay motivated. These tools can help you monitor your workouts, set goals, and measure your achievements, providing valuable feedback along the way.
Starting or returning to fitness is a commendable journey that can positively impact your overall well-being. Remember to be patient with yourself, set achievable goals, fuel your body adequately, incorporate strength training, and invest in the right equipment. By following these tips, you’ll be well on your way to a successful and sustainable fitness routine that can benefit you for years to come.