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How to Get Back Into an Exercise Routine After Taking Time Off

It’s easy to fall out of a workout routine if you’re feeling overwhelmed by work or family commitments or if you get sick or injured. Getting back on track can be much harder. Here are some tips to help.

Talk to Your Doctor About Your Condition, Goals and Abilities
If you took time off because of an illness or an injury, consult your doctor before you start working out. Your physician can assess your current condition and give you advice on how to ease back into an exercise regimen, including which exercises are safe to do and which you should avoid, how much you can work out to start and how often. If you took a break due to an injury, your physical therapist may suggest ways to modify some activities to reduce your risk of getting hurt again.

You may be eager to resume the types of activities you used to do, but that may not be realistic, at least not right now. Focus on setting reasonable goals based on your current abilities so you don’t overdo it and get hurt or feel discouraged when things don’t go the way you hoped they would.

Take Your Time
You may want to focus on short and simple workouts before you return to the gym. Taking a daily walk around the block, going for bike rides, or playing with your kids in the backyard can be good ways to begin adding physical activity back into your life without stressing your body too much all at once.

Once you start transitioning back into your former routine, you may realize that your strength and abilities declined more than you thought they had. Be realistic and listen to your body. 

Focus on proper technique, not on using the same amount of weight or doing the same number of reps you used to do. You will be able to increase the intensity over time, but you can get hurt if your form isn’t right. It will take time to get back into shape, but it’s better to take a measured approach than to push yourself too hard, get injured and be out of commission for several more weeks or months.

Give Your Body What It Needs
Don’t just think about your workout routine. Nutrition and rest are vital to your overall health and fitness. Eat a healthy diet so your body has the nutrients necessary for exercise. Make sure you get enough sleep and take days off from working out so your body gets the rest it needs.

Seek Support
If you used to work out with family members or friends, tell them that you want to get back into your old routine. Make sure they understand that you took time off and why. They can help you challenge yourself without overdoing it and can provide support and encouragement when you need it. Looking forward to the social aspect of working out can also help you stay motivated.