How to Get Back Into an Exercise Routine

March 17, 2012

This is a guest post by Marie.

New Year’s has come and gone and the resolutions of most people lie abandoned in a ditch or are dusty from lack of use. It’s easy to start strong and then putter out. But there’s no time like NOW (as in, you know, today) to get back into it. Your routine may have lagged for a number of reasons. Your routine may have been boring or too complicated. Maybe it was too extreme — waking up with sore muscles the day after an intense workout is not enjoyable for some people. Get back into shape by following these tips and re-booting your routine.

Exercise

Try Something Low Impact

Many people think they are “feeling the burn” when they are really just injuring him or herself. You are working out to get healthier, not create problems. If you absolutely despised your old routine, it could be that it was too intense. Avoid injuring yourself by trying a low impact workout, such as using ellipticals. Unlike running on cement or bicycling, using an elliptical machine does not put stress on your joints or lead to pain the next day. You can go as slow or as fast on the machine as you like, getting in a great cardio workout. Items like yoga balls and resistance bands can also provide an excellent workout but protect you from injury.

Bring a Friend

Going at it alone can be incredibly boring. You don’t have anyone to talk to as you run or workout and no one to push you on that last set of weight lifting. You’ll both hold each other accountable too, so you won’t just have yourself to answer to if you skip a workout. Getting a friend to workout with you gives you motivation to get back into a routine and gives you a chance to socialize.

Spice It Up

Make exercising exciting by trying a different workout style or routine every so often. The same routine over and over bores you and your muscles. Before long you will both plateau. Instead, add different styles every other day or so. For example, take a Pilates class or DVD once a week, go for a walk or look into the thousands of workout videos available free on Youtube.com for some thinspiration. Most likely, your community also offers group adult classes in dance, tai chi or something similar that can challenge you in a new way.

Cement the Habit

It’s hard to get back into a habit once you’ve dropped it. One way to reinforce a new habit or reboot an old one is to commit to it for a month or longer. Tell yourself that you’ll exercise each day for 30 days. Breaking a large goal into smaller, approachable pieces makes it easier to achieve. You don’t have to exercise for hours each day, even 15 minutes will suffice. At the end of 30 days, your new routine should be such a regular habit that you don’t even think twice about it.

As with many things, the hardest part is starting. Although morbid, I like to take a “not getting any younger” approach — it will NEVER be easier for you to workout than it is today. So why not try before the going gets really tough? Find a routine that’s healthy, a buddy who’s reliable and an attitude that’s positive then get yourself back to the gym.

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