It’s safe to say that the past few years have thrown everyone off their normal routines, especially when it comes to working out. Studies show a dramatic decrease in activities among older adults 65 and older, such as walking and cycling. Getting back into the groove doesn’t have to be overwhelming, though. These tips will help ease your way to safely get back into exercising.
First, start by setting realistic goals for yourself. The goals should be small yet easily measurable. For instance, if you want to improve your strength, set a goal of doing 10 pushups in a row. As time goes on, you can gradually increase that number. Write your goals down so they can act as motivation. Cross them off one by one as you reach each goal. You can apply this same principle to any exercise or activity, such as walking a certain length of time or distance.
Set a goal around how many times a week you want to exercise. Then block off time on your schedule or calendar. Scheduling workouts in advance is an effective way to hit your goal and make sure you actually do them. Be realistic with your planning. Maybe you like exercising at night because you can blow off some steam after a long day. Mark off an hour a few nights a week so you don’t overbook yourself. If you find yourself making excuses or getting distracted, try working out first thing in the morning.
Sure, everyone wants to hit their goals, but it’s important to be honest with yourself and stay accountable. If your goal is to walk for 30 minutes three times a week, but you only lasted 20 minutes, make note of that 10 minute difference. Don’t stress over missing your goal, though. Give yourself the credit you deserve. The point of staying accountable is to keep track of what’s working, what isn’t, and what needs to be changed.
There are a ton of things that can help you stay accountable. From apps to fitness trackers and journals, you can find plenty of ways to track your progress and even engage in some fun challenges. Having an accountability buddy is also a great way to follow through with your workouts. They don’t even need to join you in person. Call or text them after your workout, or beforehand to give them a bit of motivation.
Ease Back Into Activities
If you’ve taken a few weeks off from exercising, you’ll need to gradually work back into a routine. Even if you were fit, you don’t want to jump right back to the same intensity. People often get discouraged that they can’t do the same things they used to do. But that doesn’t mean you can’t get back to that point. Click here to learn more about ways to get active at any age.
A good rule of thumb is to exercise at about 50% of the level you were previously at, either in intensity or length of time. Then, gradually increase your workouts by 10% each week. This is a great starting point so you don’t injure yourself as your body gets used to the activities again. Don’t get discouraged if you have to take a bit more time before you increase your workouts. Some people bump up their exercises every two weeks instead of every week. You just have to listen to your body.
Get Some Fresh Air
Whether you prefer to work out alone or in a group, taking your workout outside can do wonders for your health. In fact, being in the great outdoors can have both physical and mental health benefits. Researchers found that being outside for 2 hours per week can significantly improve health and well-being. More impressively, people who spend 200-300 minutes a week in nature found even more significant benefits.
When the weather cooperates, be sure to take advantage of the opportunity. Walk around your neighborhood, do body-weight strength exercises in the park, or even watch an exercise video in your backyard. Find ways to immerse yourself in nature. Soon enough, you’ll find yourself starting to look forward to exercising, especially if it means being out in the sunshine.
Break It Up
Working up a sweat doesn’t mean you have to have a full hour uninterrupted. Sure, it’s great if you can make that happen, but not everyone’s schedule allows that. Breaking your workout into smaller chunks throughout the day can help you ease back into exercising, even during the busiest time of year.
In fact, studies have shown there are plenty of benefits to shorter workouts. Doing 10 minutes of strength training every hour can add up to some tremendous health benefits. You can even improve your stamina by walking or jogging at 10-minute intervals. Think of it like snacking throughout the day instead of eating one large meal. Multiple exercise snacks throughout the day can add up to one large exercise meal. Some days you may snack more than others, but it’s all going towards the cumulative goal.