Updated: Jan 15
Have you got out of the routine of exercise and are wondering the best way to get started again?
Has Covid held you back from getting out of the house? Or has your own time been put on hold due to a busy family life or work schedule?
Whatever your reason for letting your exercise routine slip, here are some of our top tips to help find your motivation for exercise again.
Why it's important to get back into exercising?
With increased pressure on the NHS and long wait times to see a GP, getting sick and developing poor health is something we should all try our best to avoid.
Whilst there will always be unavoidable situations where a GP or hospital visit is required we still all have a moral responsibility to make good choices that will lead us to have a more healthy and active lifestyle.
It really is never too late to get started.
How is exercise beneficial?
Here are some important benefits of exercise.
Improves bone density
Helps with a better mood, as exercise stimulates the release of endorphins. These endorphins are a natural way to improve mood, reduce anxiety and depression.
How to get back into exercise after a long break?
Tip 1 - Find a form of exercise you enjoy
It's important to try different forms of exercise so that you can find something that you enjoy.
If you are just starting off after a period of inactivity then low impact exercise is a good place to start.
We highly recommend Pilates as a great form of exercise to maintain your body and help prevent injury, improve performance and build flexibility, strength and balance. It's also great for your posture.
We encourage all our clients to maintain an active lifestyle by mixing up their Pilates with other forms of exercise such as running, swimming, cycling, weight training, HIIT training and walking.
If you enjoy the social aspect of exercise then sports like golf, tennis and cycling are all great for meeting new people. Most sports clubs will allow you to come along and try it out before signing an annual contract.
For example, Downshire Tennis Club in Hillsborough run a series of tournaments and leagues suitable for beginners and improvers. They also run group lessons which is a great social way to develop your game, enjoy exercise and meet new people.
If you join as a member you can start arranging games at other times during the week too.
If you used to enjoy playing Hockey and would like to get back to it you could join a club as a social member for some exercise and craic. Our local club in Dromore Ladies Hockey Club run a mums and chums session on a Tuesday evening - its a great way to get active and reconnect with old clubmates and meet new people.
If you enjoy strength training then the reformer is a great form of exercise to try. If you need some direction with higher level fitness goals then getting a program from a personal trainer is a great idea (we work with several and are happy to provide recommendations). Technique is key, so exercising online definitely has its limitations.
If you have had pain or injuries or are returning to exercise after surgery then we would recommend that you arrange an appointment with an experienced physiotherapist. We are more than happy to help and will give you a personalised exercise program to help you recover fully and be able to enjoy exercise with reduced risks of pain and injury.
We would also recommend you do this if you are returning to sport or exercise after a period of inactivity to ensure your body is sufficiently conditioned.
Or you could try running and walking clubs which are very popular.
Tip 2 - Make a plan
Make an exercise plan that you can build on. Start small to avoid overwhelm rather than making a busy plan that you might struggle to stick to. This can only leave you feeling defeated.
Why not start 2-3 times a week rather than 4-5 times a week. If you haven't done anything for a long time, you can begin with just 10/15 minutes and build up gradually in increments of 5 minutes.
Once you get started the plan can grow and develop as you start to build your routine.
Just getting your body moving again will be a great start.
Tip 3 - Exercise with friends
If you don't want to join a group or club then why not start your own or arrange to catch up with a friend or two for a regular walk, cycle or swim.
It can often help to start a class with a friend rather than going alone so you feel comfortable from the moment you walk through the door.
Friends can also help keep you to your plan and hold you accountable for those days when you are lacking in motivation.
Tip 4 - Set goals and find new challenges
By setting yourself goals you will help keep up your motivation. Plus when you reach a goal your sense of achievement will help keep you motivated.
Make sure your goals are realistic and achievable, like completing a 5k or doing ten pilates classes in a row.
Why not try something completely new, like kayaking or hill walking.
Often our reason for stopping exercise is that we lose interest. With challenges, you have something to work towards and will keep making progress.
Getting back into exercise can seem daunting, but remember to start by finding an exercise you enjoy and making a plan. Don't forget to get your friends involved and find a new activity you could do together.
We can help you move and feel better with our physio lead pilates and Reformer pilates sessions. If you want to find out more or try a taster session, then get in touch with us. We have sessions available in our Dromore and Hillsborough studios.