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The Ultimate Guide to Returning to Exercise

Who says you have to wait until after the holidays to make your big comeback? Your reason to get back into exercise may stem from several factors - lack of motivation, an injury, holidays, travel, caring for a loved one, etc. Whatever that reason may be, you’re back and ready (or at least intrigued) to return to exercise. The most common question we get with new training clients is how to return to exercise safely and effectively after a hiatus. And we are here to help! Let the following be your guide to return to exercise and make it a regular part of your routine again.

1. Patience

It’s been said that “patience is a virtue,” and we could not agree more. Starting simple is almost always best. If you are used to deadlifting with 40 lb dumbbells and today is your day 1 after a hiatus, you likely would not start with that same weight. In fact, we would encourage you to go light. Another example is if you were running half marathons before your break, you would not go out and run another half marathon until you properly trained for it. Be patient, start lighter, and you can always go harder/heavier next time once you see how you recover. If you are returning after an injury, it is vital to avoid jumping right back in where you left off, as you may re-injure yourself. Safety is always our priority, and something is better than nothing, even if it means lighter weights, fewer reps, or other tweaks.

2. Consistency is key.

While patience is important, consistency is a close second. Create a schedule and do your best to stick with it. Consider aiming for two days per week minimum as you return to strength training, especially if you have a full body approach within each workout. Anything beyond two times per week is a bonus, and you can gradually add days as you are successful with two. Those small wins will add up!

3. Correct imbalances.

As you get back into exercising, take the time to think about how you are moving your body. Does one limb feel stronger than the other? Do you have limited mobility in certain joints? Take note as you warm up and go through your first workout. Then you can hone in on those imbalances and correct them. Concerned? Connect with us, and we can do a movement assessment to help you out! This is especially important if you have not worked on corrective exercises before, you are new to exercising, or are returning after a break of several months.

4. Look at the big picture.

As we settle into our routine, we may get exuberant and want to go all out. But do we want to have a setback? No, of course not. We recommend avoiding tunnel vision, and instead look at the grand scheme. We want to remain injury-free while reaching our goals, right? Be sure to warm up with a variety of dynamic movements, target all the main muscle groups in your workouts, and then effectively cool down and stretch at the end of each workout. Feel free to add in cardio 1-2 days per week to supplement your strength training and increase your cardiorespiratory endurance.

The Takeaway - Making your comeback!

It can be frustrating to be kept away from exercise. And returning isn’t always easy. If you are making a return to exercise, go you! Remember that your body can do challenging things. Be patient, build consistency, and correct any imbalances.

If you are thinking about your big comeback to exercise, know that you are never alone. We are here to be at your side and guide you through this stage and beyond! We can advise you on what programs and exercises to get you to that next level in your health and fitness.


Jessica Corkin is the Virtual Fitness Manager at Begin Within. She holds a Master’s Degree in Exercise Science and has spent the last eight years working in the fitness and wellness industry. When she is not virtually training clients, she enjoys strength training, running, being outdoors, and spending quality time with her husband and dog. Connect with her here.

Get our free Stay at Home Workout Guide (that has 3 FREE workouts included) here.

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