Whether you have a good excuse like a pulled hammy or you've just been too busy with work and friends to slip on your sports bra, it's never easy to get back into the sweaty swing of things after a long break from exercise. After giving yourself a pat on the back for making the choice to get back on the workout train, be sure to avoid these mistakes.
Making up for lost time: It doesn't matter if it's been a couple weeks or a few months, don't beat yourself up by pushing yourself to the max too soon. Overdoing on exercising can result in such sore muscles that you won't be able to bend over to tie your shoes for days afterward, or worse, an injury can give you a one-way ticket to another exercise break. Ease back into things that first week or two back, and don't try to break any personal records.
Scheduling a race: Your co-worker invited you to do a half-marathon for cancer, and you want to help out, but you haven't run in months. Doing a big race is not the best idea on your first day, week — or even month — back. If a lack of training isn't enough, a touch of friendly competition might push you to move faster and harder than ever, causing injuries that can take months to heal. If a race is motivating you to get back into exercising, be honest about what you're capable of and plan ahead to leave enough time for training.
Not doing enough: While you definitely don't want to start back up running 10 miles every day, you also don't want to run two miles every two weeks. Plan out and stick with a regular exercise routine that involves exercising at least three to four days a week. Even 20 minutes of morning yoga or a short strength-training session before bed will suffice; you want to get your mind and body back into the mindset that exercise is something that's part of your daily life. Increase the number of workouts as you feel ready, allowing for rest days during the week.
Not fueling properly: Your body needs fuel before and after exercise for energy and recovery. Without eating, you'll not only feel foggy-headed and lethargic, but your metabolism will slow down, causing you to gain weight. Here are tips on choosing the right pre-workout snack, and these dessert-like post-workout snacks are sure to satisfy your sweet tooth.
Falling back to your old ways: If boredom and lack of motivation is what brought upon this month-long workout hiatus, it's time to reevaluate your routine and find ways to spice it up so you can't stay away. This could be as simple as finding a new time of day to sweat, joining a new gym that has a pool, or buying a bike instead of taking indoor cycling classes.