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Starting Over: A Guide to Restarting Your Fitness Journey After Recovery

Updated: Nov 13, 2023

a nice looking woman athlete before starting a run, smiling, in a running stadium background

Restarting your fitness routine can be exciting and daunting after recovering from an illness or injury. However, with proper guidance and a gradual approach, you can regain your strength, improve your fitness levels, and embrace a healthy lifestyle again. This article will discuss general guidelines for restarting your fitness journey and provide detailed insights into various activities, including running, swimming, yoga, and more.

General Guidelines for Starting Over

Consult with your healthcare professional

Before embarking on any fitness program, it is crucial to consult with your healthcare adviser to ensure you are physically ready and to receive tailored advice based on your specific condition.

Start slowly and progress gradually

It's essential to ease back into your fitness routine gradually. Begin with low-impact activities and shorter durations, allowing your body to adapt and minimize the risk of injury. Aim for at least 120 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity per week.

Set realistic goals

Establish realistic and achievable goals that go with your current fitness level. Break them into smaller milestones to stay motivated and track your progress effectively.

Warm-up and cool-down

Always include a warm-up session before each workout to prepare your body for exercise and reduce the risk of muscle strains. Similarly, cool down with stretches to improve flexibility and promote recovery.

How To Ease Back Into Running

Running is a popular cardiovascular exercise that provides numerous health benefits.

To restart your running routine here is what is needed:

- Start with brisk walking for 10-15 minutes to warm up.

- Alternate running and walking intervals, gradually increasing running time and decreasing walking time.

- Include strength training exercises (such as squats, lunges, and planks) to improve muscle strength and stability.

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Restarting Swimming Workouts After Injury

Swimming is a low-impact, full-body workout that offers cardiovascular and muscular benefits. Here's how to reintroduce swimming into your fitness routine:

- Begin with gentle water exercises like walking or light water aerobics.

- Incorporate short swimming sessions, aiming for 10-15 minutes initially.

- Gradually increase the intensity and duration of your swimming workouts as your endurance improves.

How To Ease Back Into Yoga

Yoga combines physical poses, breathing exercises, and meditation, promoting flexibility, strength, and mental well-being. To restart your yoga practice:

- Begin with gentle, beginner-level classes or online tutorials suitable for your fitness level.

- Focus on foundational poses and gradually progress to more challenging ones.

- Allow your instructor to guide you in making modifications for any pre-existing limitations or weaknesses.

Tracking Progress and Assessing Improvement After Workouts

Once you've started your fitness journey after recovery, it's important to track your progress and determine if you're making positive strides toward your goals. Here are some key factors to check after your workouts:

Overall Energy Levels

Notice if you feel more energized and refreshed after your workouts. Increasing stamina and improved energy levels are positive indicators of progress.

Recovery Time

Pay attention to how long it takes for your body to recover after each workout. If you find that the recovery period becomes shorter over time, it suggests that your fitness level is improving.

Increased Duration or Intensity

Monitor your ability to increase the duration or intensity of your workouts carefully. If you can perform exercises for more extended periods, lift heavier weights, or increase the power without feeling overwhelmed, it's a good sign that you're progressing.

Improved Technique

Consider whether you're able to perform exercises with better form and technique. Enhanced control, balance, and muscle activation indicate progress.

Strength and Endurance

Observe if you can handle more repetitions, lift heavier weights, or perform exercises for longer durations without significant fatigue. These improvements demonstrate an increase in strength and endurance.

Flexibility and Range of Motion

Evaluate if you're becoming more flexible and experiencing an expanded range of motion. Increased flexibility allows for better performance and reduces the risk of injury.

Body Measurements

Track changes in body measurements such as weight, waist circumference, or body fat percentage. Muscle gain might offset weight loss, so consider overall body composition changes rather than relying solely on the scale.

Resting Heart Rate

Measure your resting heart rate periodically. As you become fitter, your resting heart rate tends to lower, indicating improved cardiovascular health.

Mood and Mental Well-being

Observe how your workouts impact your mood and mental well-being. Regular exercise is often associated with reduced stress levels and increased feelings of happiness and overall well-being.

Performance in Daily Activities

Assess your performance and endurance outside of your workout sessions. Notice if everyday tasks become easier or require less effort over time.

Remember that progress may vary from person to person, and it's essential to focus on your journey rather than comparing yourself with others. By consistently monitoring these indicators, you can better understand your progress and make necessary adjustments to reach your fitness goals effectively.

Restarting your fitness journey after recovery requires patience, caution, and a gradual approach. Following these general guidelines and adapting specific activities like running, swimming, and yoga to your fitness level, you can safely and effectively regain your strength and embark on a rewarding fitness routine. Don't forget to listen to your body, celebrate progress, and enjoy the journey towards a healthier lifestyle.



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