It was the holidays, you were busy, whatever the reason, the result is the same: it’s been awhile since you’ve exercised and getting motivated to start exercising after a break is difficult at best. It’s really a viscous cycle: you take some time off from exercising, then some more. You lose muscle tone, you gain weight, you feel tired and completely unmotivated to start exercising again. So you don’t. And then you lose more muscle tone and feel even less motivated to start exercising again.
But, you can break the cycle. You can get back into an exercise routine, no matter how long your break has been. It may not be easy, but it will be worth it.
If it’s been more than a few months since you last exercised, you might want to get a medical check up. It may seem unnecessary but it’s always better to be safe than sorry, and a trip to the doctor may help jump-start your motivation for resuming an exercise routine.
Once you get the ok from your health care provider start off slow. The last thing you want to do is jump into a hard-core boot camp when you haven’t exercised in months (years?). If you belong to a gym, see if they have a trainer that can help you create an exercise program that is designed for your current fitness level with goals and progressions in place as you become more fit.
If you don't belong to a gym and/or the gym isn’t your thing, you can exercise at home or take it to the great outdoors! Look online, there are loads of great resources available that can help you design a fitness regime that will work for you.
Keep in mind that you will most likely be sore when starting out and that’s ok. That’s your body adjusting to the new activity and building new muscle. Just remember to keep moving and do some type of exercise. While you do need rest days, you don’t want to be completely idle or you’ll only end up even more sore the following day. Rest days should really be called "less intense" days.
Take this starting over opportunity to try something new. Maybe you stopped exercising before because you got bored of walking on a treadmill. Don’t give yourself a chance to get bored this time. Keep your workouts fresh by mixing things up. You can trying swimming, bicycling, rock climbing or salsa dancing…the options are endless!
Another good motivator to get -- and keep -- you moving is music. There is nothing like hearing your favorite songs to make the time fly by as you're working out. Studies have show that music can push you to work harder and exercise longer.
Finally, make exercise a habit. Tell yourself you are going to do some type of exercise every day for thirty days straight. Chances are, after that month you will begin to crave it and you’ll actually feel bad when you don't exercise.
Whether it’s been a few weeks, a month, a year (or longer) since your last workout you can always come back. You may have to start slow and it may take some time to get to your previous fitness level, but you will get there. Exercising after a break can be difficult, but the long term health benefits are worth it!