By: Ivan Sotos
Many of us have seen our workout schedules and routines completely shattered by the pandemic. But with more and more of us becoming vaccinated everyday, getting back in shape is now a reality.
Although all of us are eager to jump back in into our yoga and martial arts classes, remember these three fundamentals to make a safe and strong return to exercise.
Be patient and start slow
Beware of jumping right back into your old routine. If you have taken a considerable time off from exercise, your body will not be used to the intensity of your previous routines.
Regardless of your previous fitness level, we can look at some recommendations from the American College of Sports Medicine for a sense of where to begin.
The ACSM recommends that everyone engage in “20 to 60 minutes of continuous aerobic activity” around three times a week. If you are more experienced, 20 to 30 of the sixty minutes should include more rigorous exercises.
If this routine seems too challenging as you get back into things, try “multiple sessions of short duration” per week instead – ex. 10 minutes three to five times a week.
For all of the weight lifters out there, don’t try to max out until your third week back. According to the Cleveland Clinic, you run the risk of muscle injury by not playing it cautious in the early days of your return and should start at a low level to build endurance and retrain your muscles.
Set reasonable expectations
Although we all wish we could simply pick up exactly where we left off before our break, this is not a reasonable expectation. Take the necessary amount of time to build back into your previous routine or even start a new one, making sure to start slow.
In setting expectations, we need to understand that getting back in shape is both of mind and body. Don’t be scared if it takes a while for your strength and speed to return as you will eventually see results. It is important to realize that this is a long term project, but also one that is completely achievable.
Pay attention to your body and give it the care it needs
When returning to exercise it is vital to remember the basics of staying hydrated, stretching, and warming-down after your workouts. The American Council on Exercise recommends drinking: 17 to 20 ounces of fluid, 2 to 3 hours before working out and another 8 ounces, 20 to 30 minutes before starting your workout.
In terms of stretching, the two main styles are dynamic and static stretching. Dynamic stretches emphasize activity and movement before your workout while static stretching are more suitable for lighter workouts and warming down. Check out this list of essential pre and post workout stretches here.
Also, being adequately prepared in terms of sleep and nutrition plays a major role in preventing injury during exercise. By staying on top of your sleep and eating right, you will be well on your way to getting back in shape.
Despite all these preparations, they are surely a worthy effort in your journey to get back in shape. Click here if you’d like to read how other New Yorkers kept their New Year’s fitness resolutions.