8 Tips to Ease Back into an Exercise Routine

We’ve all been there: the excitement of New Year’s resolutions has faded and now you can’t find the motivation you need to exercise. Maybe you stuck with it for a few weeks before falling back into bad habits, or maybe you only lasted a few days. 

Either way, it’s not too late to ease back into an exercise routine so you can feel your best. Here are our top tips to help get you started.

1. Reflect on Your Goals

Before diving back into exercise, take a moment to reflect on your initial fitness goals and the motivations behind them. 

Are they still relevant? Have your priorities shifted? Don’t be afraid to adjust your goals so they align with what you hope to achieve now. You may consider writing down the reasons why you want to get fit. This can help clarify your “why” so that you feel more motivated to get out there and move your body.

2. Start Slow

You may be tempted to jump back into the groove, but starting slow is key to preventing injury and burnout. There’s nothing worse than going too hard for a week or so, only to feel too sore to keep going!

Begin with low-intensity activities like walking, yoga, or gentle bodyweight exercises like situps. Gradually increase the intensity as you continue to get back in shape and you won’t have to worry about getting hurt or losing motivation.

3. Find Exercises You Actually Like

When it comes to being active, there are so many different options. Don’t force yourself to go for a five-mile run seven days a week if you don’t like to run — try swimming, hiking, playing a sport, or even dancing instead! 

Incorporating activities that you genuinely enjoy into your routine will make exercise feel less like something you have to do and more like something you get to do. Experiment with different things, and don’t be afraid to try something new until you land on something you truly like.

4. Find an Accountability Buddy

You don’t have to go at it alone. Surround yourself with supportive people who will encourage you along the way. This could be friends, family, or even a Facebook group where you can share about your progress (and challenges). 

You may also consider finding an accountability buddy — someone with similar goals who can keep you motivated. Having someone to hold you accountable can help you stay on track and inspired, especially on those days when you feel like giving up.

5. Stay Positive

It may be cheesy, but it’s essential to keep a positive mindset if you hope to accomplish your fitness goals. 

Many people experience mental barriers when it comes to exercise, like fear of failure or lack of confidence. Address these challenges head-on and stay positive. Be kind to yourself and remember that progress takes time. Lean into the process instead of the outcome and celebrate those small wins. For example, if you told yourself you would work out three days a week and you did, that’s huge!

6. Set Realistic Expectations

You also need to set realistic expectations if you hope to stay motivated. It’s essential to understand that your progress may be gradual and setbacks aren’t the end of the world. There will inevitably be days when you feel tired or you may get sick. 

Instead of dwelling on what you can’t do, focus on what you’ve done so far. And perhaps most importantly, be patient and kind with yourself. 

7. Incorporate Exercise into Your Daily Life

Finding time for exercise can be difficult, especially if you’re a busy parent. Look out for opportunities for physical activity wherever you can. Try to take the stairs instead of the elevator, or take your next conference call while out for a walk. Or, why not join your kids for a game of tag?

Get creative and make exercise a non-negotiable part of your routine. Every little bit counts, so don’t underestimate the power of small, consistent efforts.

8. Track Your Progress

Keeping an eye on your progress as you go along can be a great motivator. There are plenty of fitness apps out there, or you could simply write in a journal. Assess how you’re feeling both physically and mentally, and be open to adjusting your routine if it’s no longer working for you.

If you hit one of your goals, reward yourself! There’s no shame in giving yourself a pat on the back for a job well done.

Whether you’re restarting your fitness journey or looking for ways to keep your momentum, these tips can help you achieve your goals and have fun doing it. 

This content originally appeared in our monthly Open Calendar Club newsletter.

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