Whilst there are those who have thrown themselves enthusiastically into various lockdown workouts and dedicated hours previously spent commuting to new sports and fitness regimes, there are also many of us who have done the opposite. Lunch break gym sessions have gone out the window as both gyms and offices temporarily closed, and deprived of a reason to leave the house every day, working from home has lead to inactive lifestyles and lounging around the house in our comfy clothes. The rules may have eased, but it can be difficult to rediscover the more active lifestyles we led before, or initiate new healthier regimes. To help you on your way, here’s some tips on how to get more sporty after several months of inactivity. Good luck, you’ve go this!
You have to organise yourself and take the time to move again, and listen to your body to make sure you don’t start off too hard.Michaël Ben Atra, Wellbeing Manager at Aspria Arts-Loi
1. Start simple
It may seem obvious, but take it easy at first. There’s no sense going on an extreme run only to overdo it, injure yourself or feel awful for days after. Go for a brisk walk or light jog in an area you like, do a short workout with your favourite exercises, or head to the gym for a short session focusing on your favourite equipment. This will be far less daunting and more achievable than an hour long workout and you’ll soon get back into the swing of things, building up your stamina in due course. Michael Ben Atra, wellbeing manager at Aspria Arts-Loi, a fitness club in Brussels, highlights the importance of starting with small steps; ‘little by little, get yourself ready to move about more and more, whether its with sport or outings, even like going to the shops to get some outside air.’
2. Build it into your routine
To avoid daily tasks getting in the way of your exercise regime, it’s important to carve out time for it by building it into your schedule. Pick a time of day when you will most realistically have time for your workout, either at home, outside or at the gym, and try your best to stick to it. Booking a class at the gym can be helpful way to introduce exercise into your regime as this gives you a set time which you can’t delay if you get caught up with something else.
3. Be prepared
Have your gym kit prepared, alongside your water bottle, so that it is ready to go when you need it. This saves time so that when you come to exercise, whether that’s in the morning, on your lunch break, or after work, you don’t have to spend time locating all your gear, which can often lead to frustration, time wasting, and provide the perfect excuse to just skip your exercise routine altogether.
4. Find company
Got a friend who’s been saying they’d like to get fitter? Or a family member who’s mentioned wanting to try out a new gym? Find a fitness buddy and make some plans together. This can help with motivation and the social aspect of it can also make exercising more enjoyable, as well as making the prospect of getting fit again less daunting by doing it together with someone else.
If possible, with other people…do challenges with your friends, this forces you to move a little more.Michael Ben Atra, wellbeing manager at Aspria Arts-Loi
6. Set goals
Realistic and achievable goals are a good way to boost commitment to a new exercise regime. There are apps which offer training programmes, or you can take advantage of some of the offers many fitness establishments are promoting post-lockdown. Try a short one-month or even 2 week challenge or find a short course of classes of an activity you enjoy at your local gym or fitness centre. Breaking your exercise down into a smaller time frame will help it to feel less overwhelming, and professional instructors can be a great help to motivation and confidence. At Aspria Ars-Loi, ‘discovery workshops’ include explanations of the exercises involved in the classes alongside the exercises themsleves, enabling you to understand the benefits of each one on your body. This helps to not only make the exercises more effective but also to prevent injuries, as you can learn to feel your body as you exercise.
7. Remember the benefits and feelings
We all know the physical benefits of exercise, but it’s important to remember the emotional and mental benefits too. The endorphins released through exercise can improve our mood and help us to forget various life stresses, at least temporarily. Remember these if you’re struggling for motivation, remember how good you can feel after our workout, and once you’ve completed it, take a moment to enjoy that feeling and feel proud that you have done something good for yourself.
8. Be kind to yourself
Exercise for yourself and only yourself. Take it steady and do what you feel comfortable with, push yourself only as far as you are ok with. Exercising a healthy amount is a great habit to encourage but it is important to do it for the right reasons. With a bit of self discipline and determination little by little you will be able to build your regime and become accustomed to its place in your schedule, but take it steady on the way and be kind to your body.