We’ve all been there. After a particularly grueling leg day or an intense sweat sesh in your Pilates class, your body was begging for a break. So you did the responsible thing and took a rest day. And then another. Now here we are, at the end of summer and you can’t remember the last time you slipped on your sneakers. Sound familiar?
Whether you’re recovering from an injury or just juggling chaos of a busy summer schedule, it’s easy to let your workouts fall to the wayside. So how do you start a new workout routine when your gym bag starts to look like it weighs a thousand pounds?
Take the pressure off of getting active
Getting back into a regular routine can be anxiety-inducing. One of the biggest mistakes we often make is sensationalizing our return to a healthy, active lifestyle. If you’ve enlisted a personal trainer, bought a whole new closet of workout gear, and blasted your #fitspiration across Twitter, you’re setting yourself up for failure. Start small and make sure movement is a no-pressure zone.
Set short-term, measurable goals like walking 10,000 steps a day. Opt to go for a walk on your lunch break instead of sitting and chatting with coworkers. Pick the stairs over the elevator. Park further away from the grocery store. Once you’re comfortable committing to daily movement, you can start adding strength and flexibility training back into the mix. The most important thing is taking that first step. Then the next one. Then the one after that. You’ll be ready to tackle a new workout routine before you know it.
Practice mindful movement
Whether you’ve ridden the mindfulness bandwagon for years or are a new recruit, meditation can improve your workouts. Use all five senses to anchor you in your activities. Smell the rich ocean air, count your footsteps as they meet the boardwalk, wave to the beach loungers, or see a new part of your neighborhood.
Mindfulness won’t necessarily make running any easier, but it can help you tune into your body’s cues and signals. Plus, this sort of mindfulness cultivates curiosity, and curiosity drives action. You’re more likely to make it around that next set of switchbacks if you’re curious about the view from the top of the mountain.
Recruit a workout buddy
It’s true. There’s strength in numbers. Research has shown that joining group exercise classes or exercising with a friend helps us show up, work hard, and stay persistent. When you recruit a workout buddy, you’ve got a built-in accountability system. If you don’t have a friend willing to start a new workout routine with you, there’s an app for that! Apps like Hey! VINA, Whistle, and Fitbit help to connect you with a global community of fitness enthusiasts.
Celebrate all of your victories
Remember those short-term, measurable goals we talked about? Make sure you’re rewarding yourself for achieving them! Studies have shown time and time again that rewarding your healthy behaviors is more effective in the long run than punishing yourself for any slip-ups. Made it to a yoga class today? Treat yourself to a post-workout smoothie. Or incentivize your run by putting away a dollar every time you hit the treadmill. Before you know it, you’ll have the funds saved to treat yourself for all of your hard work.
The good news? No matter how far off track you’ve gotten, you can always get back into an active lifestyle. Just take it slow and most importantly, have fun. Still need help getting started? We’ve got you.