Sunny spring days bring a renewed sense of motivation and energy to get up and moving. After a long winter exercise hiatus, the idea of breaking a sedentary cycle may feel daunting. it is possible to restart your exercise routine. The key is to ease into activity safely with realistic expectations and a manageable approach. Here are some tips on how to get back into a healthy routine:
- Set small, measurable goals. Whether you’re into walking, running, biking, swimming, or something else altogether, aim for 30 – 60 minutes of continuous activity two to three days a week. Then, after a month, increase your activity and aim for three to five days per week. The American Heart Association recommends the average adult aim for 150 minutes of moderate to intense aerobic activity each week. Working towards small goals and increasing activity as you go helps with accountability. Consider your personal goals and fitness level when easing back into exercise. Questions to consider when developing goals may include:
- How long does it take to walk or run a mile?
- What is your pulse rate after 15 minutes of continuous, moderate activity?
- What is your starting BMI?
Use these types of questions to measure incremental progress. Remember to be intentional and consistent with your exercises and cardio activities. Slow and steady wins the race!
- Do something active every day. Incorporate an activity that you enjoy doing into your daily routine. This may be something as simple as a brisk 30-minute walk with your family or pet. Low to moderate exercise on a regular basis will gradually improve your circulation, lower blood pressure, boost good cholesterol, and strengthen your endurance. It is easier to reach your goals when you are doing something each day to get there.
- Phone a friend or find group classes. Working out with a friend or in a group is a great way to keep you motivated. You’ll hold each other accountable, plus you’ll have someone to chat with to pass the time.
- Think about the rewards. Consistent activity and workouts yield a variety of health benefits, including stronger bones and muscles. But it doesn’t end there. Physical activity can reduce the risk of disease, strengthen the cardiovascular system, help manage weight, improve brain health, and promote better sleep quality.
- Invest in quality footwear. Physical activity can add stress to weight bearing joints. Proper footwear should provide adequate cushioning and arch support to avoid related injuries. The right shoes should be comfortable and aid in the alignment of your foot when it comes into contact with the ground. Be sure to evaluate elements like ankle support, stability, balance, and shock absorption, depending on the types of activities you plan to do.
- Remember to warm-up and cool down. Stretch 8 to 10 minutes before and after exercising to loosen tight muscles. The warm up process (ex., a brisk walk, light jog, jumping jacks) increases muscle temperature, meaning muscles able to move quickly and efficiently, reducing the risk of injury. A cool down routine following periods of heavy exercise is just as important to slowly decrease body temperature and lower your heart rate. Simple movements, like stretching or foam rolling, will help the body dispose of harmful toxins that may cause muscle stiffness or aches.
- Have an injury plan. Despite preventative safety measures, exercise induced injuries may still occur. When that happens, it is important to know where to go. If you’re injured, skip the ER line and visit one of Raleigh Orthopaedic’s multiple urgent care We have a team of dedicated advanced practice providers to treat your urgent orthopedic needs.
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The material contained on this site is for informational purposes only and DOES NOT CONSTITUTE THE PROVIDING OF MEDICAL ADVICE, and is not intended to be a substitute for independent professional medical judgment, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your health.