An Easy Guide to Getting Back Into Exercise After a Break

getting back into exercise

You start to notice your physical and mental health taking a nosedive, but you feel like it’s too late to start exercising. Well, guess what? It’s not! 

While it can be easy to lose your motivation for getting back into exercise, it’s never too late to start again. Whether you’re trying to lose the baby weight, you want to train for a competition, or you’re just looking to improve your health, you can always start somewhere.

So, how can this be achieved? Keep reading to learn more!

It’s Never too Late for Getting Back Into Exercising

When you get off track from your fitness goals it may seem easier to get back into it if you’re younger.

Is this true? Well, not quite.

While younger people have the reputation of being able to gain muscle easier, there’s nothing stopping an older person from being able to gain muscle. In fact, as you age, it’s great for your health to have a regular exercise routine.

Exercise as an elderly adult can provide countless health benefits. Regular exercise can help prevent dementia later in life, as well as the need to be in a wheelchair.

Exercise is great for mental health as well, as it helps you think more clearly and it boosts serotonin, AKA “the happy chemical.” Exercise is also great for stress reduction, which will lead to a longer, healthier life.

If we keep moving as we age then our muscles and joints will thank us for that. In many cases, elderly people lose their ability to move certain parts of their body from a lack of use. If you keep low-impact, gentle exercise part of your routine, your chances of keeping your mobility are much higher.

If you’re a younger adult, then it’s definitely never too late to get back into exercising. While you should start off slow to avoid injury or burnout, it’s never too late to get back into exercising.

Older Doesn’t Mean Less Muscle

While our bodies naturally lose muscle mass as we get older, that doesn’t mean it has to stay that way.

This is because elderly people can still do resistance exercises, which are exercises that stretch a muscle to the point of strain. As with any other fitness newbie, an elderly person who is just getting back into working out will want to start slow.

Studies have actually found that elderly adults can gain an average of 2.5 pounds of muscle mass per month while regularly doing resistance training. 

How Exercise Impacts Your Body

There are so many benefits to exercising regularly

Here are a few…

Weight Management

Weight management is the most common reason amongst people for exercising.

As we do cardio in the form of running, walking, biking, or swimming, we’re increasing the number of calories that we’re burning, which helps us shed weight. Plus, the more that you exercise the more calories you’ll burn while you’re resting.

While cardio is important, performing resistance exercises in the form of aerobics, yoga, weight lifting, or pilates helps burn fat and replace it with muscle mass. Again, the more muscle you have, the more calories you’ll burn when you aren’t exercising.

All in all, if you’re looking to manage your weight then exercise is a key factor.

Improved Mental Health

As you exercise, your body is releasing serotonin which boosts your mood.

Along with an improved mood and feeling of joy, exercise can reduce stress levels. As you boost your mood and reduce stress levels, conditions like anxiety and depression are improved as well.

Keeps Your Cognitive Skills Sharp As You Get Older

It’s true that older people tend to lose their memory as they age, however, that doesn’t have to be the case.

As you exercise, your body releases proteins that help improve your brain structure and function. This is great for preventing memory fog and possibly preventing dementia.

Strengthen Bones and Muscles

One of the most popular reasons that people exercise is to gain strength in the muscles.

While muscles are strengthened when exercising, your bones can also be strengthened! Everyone can gain strength in the bones and muscles, regardless of their age.

Additionally, exercise helps prevent the loss of bone and muscle mass as you age. 

Reduce the Risk of Falls

Falls are actually the leading cause of death in elderly people.

While falling is a dangerous, and hazardous accident for elderly people, exercise can reduce the risk of falling. This is because exercise increases your balance, as well as your coordination abilities.

What Exercise Plan is Right for You?

As you set out on a new exercise routine, you’ll want to keep some factors in mind.

There are so many different forms of exercise that it should be fairly easy to find the one that’s right for you.

Ask yourself these questions to find the exercise plan for you…

1. What is My Goal?

When you set out on an exercise regimen, you must have a reason for this.

Maybe you want to shed some weight, or maybe you want to train for a marathon. Regardless of what your goal is, there’s a form of exercise or a plan that will help you achieve your goal. 

For example, if you’re looking to lose weight, you may consider focusing more heavily on cardiovascular exercise. While you’ll want to incorporate some resistance training, burning calories will be your main focus. 

2. What Are My Limitations? (If Any)

People of all ages have limitations that prevent certain types of exercise.

If you have ankle and knee pain, you probably won’t want to go outside and run 3 miles. You can experience ankle and joint pain from previous injuries, overuse if you are a former athlete, or naturally with aging.

If you’re experiencing joint pain, a low-impact exercise would be the one for you. Exercises like biking, swimming, or walking are great forms of low-impact exercises.

3. What Are My Preferences?

If you don’t have any limitations dictating the exercise that you need, you can rely on your own personal preferences.

As you dive deep and think about your preferences, try to remember times you enjoyed yourself while exercising. For example, if you loved to play volleyball in high school, you may want to consider joining an intramural league.

If you love to dance, sign up for a Zumba class! The possibilities for moving your body are truly endless. The more that you enjoy your exercise, the easier time you’ll have starting and maintaining it.

4. What Are My Resources?

While a gym membership is a great resource for exercising, not everyone has the luxury of affording one.

If you find yourself struggling to find a way to exercise without the gym, weigh the resources that you do have. If you live in a safe neighborhood, walks and runs are a great way to exercise with no equipment.

If you own a bike, take it to the pavement and go for a ride. 

Maybe the weather is bad and you have no gym equipment… Well, that doesn’t have to stop you from exercising! Turn on a video and follow along with the exercises. If you don’t want to buy workout DVDs, these videos can be found for free online.

Getting Started

Now that you know how exercise can benefit your body and you’ve figured out the type of exercise for yourself, it’s time to get started!

Start Slow

No matter what your age is, if you’re getting back into exercising, you’ll want to start slow.

If you’re starting to run, you’ll want to keep the distance very short in the beginning. Only do enough to keep your body moving and to get your heart rate up a bit. Even if you want to start out walking, that’s a great starting point!

Don’t Try to Overextend Yourself

Many of us have a tendency to start exercising with an “all or nothing” mentality.

While this type of motivation is great, unfortunately, it may only be temporary. To avoid overextending yourself, try to set small goals and follow through with them.

For example…

  • “I’m going to go to the gym two times this week and in two weeks, I’m going to increase it to four.”
  • “I’m going to start off biking half of a mile, and increase the distance every 3 days.”
  • I’m going to start lifting weights, but I’m going to start with 5 lbs and increase it each week.”

Your plan is totally dependent on your abilities and preferences, but it’s important to make it specific.

Just Do It!

It’s easy to sit around and make an elaborate plan in our minds of all the exercise we’re going to do.

Instead of thinking about when you should start, just get out there and do something. Even if all you’re doing is walking around the neighborhood, any bit of progress is still progress!

The sooner you actually begin exercising, the closer you’re going to be to your goal.

What’s Your Exercise Plan?

Regardless of your age, current health status, and weight, it’s never too late to start working out.

Getting back into exercise is no easy task, so pace yourself and stay motivated.

If you loved reading this post, check out our other fitness posts!

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