We’ve talked a lot about pandemic workouts but we’ve neglected to mention how a lot of people have found it difficult to stay active over the past seven months of COVID-19. Data collected by Fitbit found that American adults were 12% less active in March, when stay at home mandates began to roll out than they were in January. Once people stopped going out, their fitness routine dropped to the bottom of their priorities.
Now that gyms are reopening and people are starting to get back to normal, many are trying to get back to their health routines. Health and fitness experts agree that what matters most is to stay safe and to be consistent.
Here are 5 tips that can help you get back in shape after months of lockdown:
Start off slow
After months of leading a sedentary lifestyle, it’s important to be as safe as you can, understanding that your body might not be ready to commit to the workouts you used to complete pre-lockdown. If you were used to running 5 miles or so, try out shorter distances at a slower pace. Use an app like Runkeeper or Nike Run Club to keep track of your progress and notice your improvement.
Do plenty of warm ups and post workout stretches
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It’s never a good idea to skip out on warmups and stretches. These activities become more important if your body has lost strength and training. Add in warm ups and stretches to your routines, setting apart the time for them. Buy foam rollers, mats and appropriate gear, anything that motivates you to stretch thoroughly.
Progressively push yourself
In order to get back to your previous form or to be able to run or bike faster, you’ll have to make it a goal to push yourself. It’s easy for our brains to shut off mid-workout, something that’s great for stress relief but that makes it difficult for us to push ourselves further. Use a tracking app or some form of keeping tabs on your progress, with each week challenging yourself to new objectives. You’ll notice these changes in your body and in your enjoyment in these activities.
Focus on your muscles
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Your body will lose muscle mass if you stop working out. Strong muscles help prevent injuries and allow you to work out with more success, so spend some time doing basic body weight exercises like squats, lunges and planks, which are effective and quick. They also can be completed anywhere, without the need of any equipment.
Expect some pain at first
If you’ve been on a long break, the first time you go back to your work outs your body will feel it, especially a day or two later. Hydrate and make sure to eat well in order to recover properly. If you feel sharp pain in the middle of a work out, pace yourself and tone down your efforts. An injury could result in complications and an even longer break from your fitness.