10 Easy Ways to Ease Back Into Exercise
Winter can wreak havoc on many things: your skin, your mood, and your exercise routine. Cold weather and shorter days make it easy to work up some snuggles on the couch—and harder to work up a sweat! As the weather shifts and spring arrives, it’s time to leave your “sitting season” behind. Get moving with these fun and easy ways to ease back into a workout routine.
How to Ease Back Into Exercise
Whether you’ve stepped away from exercise for just a few weeks or you haven’t worked out in more than a year (no judgment here!), now is a great time to get back into habit. Ease back into physical activity with these helpful tips.
1. Start Slow
No matter what type of fitness routine you want to get into, it’s important to remember that changes and results may not happen overnight. When you start working out, keep your intensity low to moderate, take intentional rest days, and listen to your body. Your muscles need rest to recover, and rest can help prevent injuries from overuse.
If you’re unsure of an appropriate intensity level or rest-to-work rhythm for yourself, consult a personal trainer or other health or fitness professional (more on this in #8!).
2. Set Realistic Goals
Have you ever started a new routine, gotten excited about it for two weeks, then quit it altogether? We’ve all been there. It may not be realistic to expect yourself to go from very little activity to an hour-long workout every day… and that’s okay!
Instead, start with a smaller goal, like a 15-minute strength training session three times a week. Once you’ve mastered that, you can increase your workout time, frequency, and intensity.
3. Walk the Walk
There’s something you do every single day that can help boost your fitness level: walking! Walking helps your cardiovascular fitness, joints, and muscles, and taking a walk outside can work wonders for your mental health, too.
Use your lunch break to take a brisk walk around the block or meet a friend at a park one morning each week. You can even break out of the typical “workout” structure, and look for ways to incorporate walking into your everyday routine. Park far away from the door at the grocery store, walk to your neighbor’s house instead of driving, or take your dog for an extra lap on daily strolls.
4. Skip Running with Alternative Cardio Exercises
Think you have to pound the pavement on a long run or walk to get in your cardio? Think again! If you hate running, you don’t have to force yourself. In fact, making yourself do something you hate is one of the quickest ways to kill your motivation to work out at all.
Instead, try one of these alternative activities that can get your heart rate pumping:
- Swimming: Easy on the joints, and still helps build your cardiovascular health.
- Elliptical: Get the benefits of running without the stress on your knees.
- Rowing: Upper body strength training and a cardio boost? Yes, please.
- Cycling: Try an indoor spin class or enjoy the open road with an electric bike.
5. Stretch it Out
Whatever type of workout you choose for cardio or strength training, don’t forget about flexibility. Your body needs strength, but it needs release, too. Stretching may help you avoid injuries or strains, and it typically doesn’t require as much intensity or energy as cardio or strength training workouts.
Yoga or Pilates classes are great for both strengthening and stretching, and a healthcare pro (like a physical therapist or trainer) can help you find the best stretches for your body’s needs.
6. Try At-Home Workouts
We get it: joining a gym or boutique fitness studio can be intimidating— not to mention expensive. The solution? Home workouts! Thousands of reputable trainers, yoga instructors, and other fitness professionals have started offering online classes, and they’re perfect for helping you ease back into a workout regiment.
Not looking for a coach or instructor? Make the most of your living room with easy couch workouts, or get your own exercise equipment with help from Rent-A-Center. Get in your zone from the comfort of home!
7. Start with Nutrition
If you can’t quite shake that winter chill out of your bones for a workout, start in the kitchen! Now is a great time to establish new health habits, including meal prep and planning. Organize your fridge and find a few healthy recipes you want to try. You might be surprised to find that healthy cooking gives you the motivation you need to get moving.
8. Ask for Help
When you’re easing back into exercise, the power of community is undeniable. A friend or family member holding you accountable can work wonders, or you can seek professional guidance to start your workout routine on the right foot. A physical therapist, personal trainer, or one-on-one fitness practitioner can be a great resource as you’re easing back into working out.
9. Get the Right Gear
You wouldn’t cook with a shovel, and you shouldn’t exercise with the wrong tools, either! Invest in your health with supportive shoes for walks, a high-quality bicycle for workouts or work commutes, or new exercise equipment that makes it easy to get into a comfortable groove with your workouts. Rent-A-Center can help you get the gear you need at a price you can afford.
10. Make it FUN!
The best type of workout is one you enjoy! When you’re easing back into exercise, approach everything with curiosity. There’s no need to put pressure on yourself to love the first workout you try. Commit to trying new things until you find an exercise that makes you feel good. Before you know it, you’ll be back into a workout routine and crushing your goals!
Easing Back Into Exercise Has Never Been Easier
Ready to get moving? Rent-A-Center is here to make easing back into working out even EASIER! With a new electric bike and gym-style workout equipment for your home, you can have fun and break a sweat — without breaking the bank. Order online or shop in-store at your local Rent-A-Center. Ask about free, same-day delivery for your new gear!