Getting Back to Training After a Long Break

Getting Back to Working Out After a Long Break

Vacations, an injury, or an illness have interrupted your exercise routine and now you don't know how to start again.

Reminding you that if the stop was caused by a health reason, you need to follow the instructions of your treating physician before resuming physical activity. We want to reassure you: it is absolutely normal that, after a long break, resuming training may be more strenuous than we remember, and we may feel like we can't do it – but getting back on track is easier than it sounds! All it takes is a little patience, and by following a few steps, you'll soon be back to your routines. Let's look at some strategies to make it easier to return to physical activity after a long break.

1. Regain Motivation

Before you return to training, think about what motivates you: keeping fit and healthy, feeling good physically and psychologically, having more energy, but also having fun.

If it was an injury or illness that sidelined you, the problem is not motivation, but the body that needed a break.

If, on the other hand, it was really a drop in motivation that stopped you, you can try to find it again by setting specific goals and asking yourself some basic questions:

  • What motivates me to exercise?
  • What do I hope to get out of training, what goal do I want to achieve?
  • What can I think about when I am having a bad day and the desire to exercise is lacking?

Finding a strong motivation can help during the inevitable times when you don't feel like going to the gym and put off "until tomorrow."

2. Become a Beginner Again

If you have not exercised for a long time, when you start again you may feel frustrated and angry. The feeling that you have lost all your achievements, while it may lead you to work harder to make up for what you have lost, may also push you to push yourself too hard and too fast, risking injury, or to give up altogether. The advice is to go back to the starting point and start again calmly, without judging yourself, focusing on basic exercises, getting excited about even small achievements, and without expecting everything right away.

3. Half-Time Your Exercise

Several studies show that one begins to lose strength and physical endurance as early as a few weeks of inactivity.

It is then estimated that after age 50, every 10 years, you naturally lose 12 to 14 percent of your muscle strength. If you add to this a period of inactivity, the loss is greater. Therefore, after a long break from physical activity, it is unthinkable to be able to pick up where you left off; you must first regain strength and endurance so that you do not risk injury and frustration.

A good strategy is to start training again by doing about half of what you were doing before the break, both in terms of quantity and intensity. For example, if you were running for 60 minutes before the stop, you can resume exercise by walking for 30 minutes, and gradually increase the effort each week.

4. Vary Your Exercise

If you were focused on a specific type of workout before you stopped exercising, try considering adding new activities to your routine-this can make recovery more challenging and less boring.

You can, for example, add exercises to strengthen muscles, or cardio sessions to burn fat, or try new classes such as yoga, Pilates, and cycling.

5. Put Exercise Back on Your Calendar

If you have already filled the time you used to devote to exercise with something else, you first need to (re)make time to exercise. Use this opportunity to revise your workout schedule if you feel it was not meeting your needs before, or if those needs have changed. And why not, involving another person might be an extra incentive to regain consistency!

6. Don't ask too much of yourself

Making too many changes at once is often a recipe for failure. Trying to pick up the pace of exercise at the same time you are trying to change your eating habits, for example, may not be the best strategy. Focusing on one thing at a time often brings greater benefits!