All you Need to Know About Returning to Exercise.
Benefits of Returning to Exercise!
Couch potatoes beware! Sedentary lifestyle is associated with a high risk of health complications including obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke and certain types of cancers. However, the good news is that it is never too late to get in shape and back on the road to a healthier, longer life!
Keeping active pays off! Research suggests that as little as 30 minutes of moderate physical activity (eg. brisk walking) is enough to significantly increase longevity. Even those with risk factors like high blood pressure, diabetes or a smoking habit will benefit from incorporating regular exercise into their lives.
Exercise, along with a balanced diet, helps us to stay in shape or lose weight, and more importantly helps lower blood pressure, control blood sugar, improve cholesterol levels and build stronger, denser bones.
As part of the natural ageing process we tend to lose lean muscle mass, a condition known as sarcopenia. Incorporating resistance training into your life (no matter what your age) helps to combat this loss by encouraging muscle growth and increasing muscular fitness which is very important for improving quality of life.
Getting Started! Key Tips
Whether you’ve accidentally slipped off the exercise bandwagon, taken a planned break, or have never exercised a day in your life, getting back into a workout routine is always intimidating; It’s all about baby steps!
If returning from an injury or surgery it is important that you seek medical clearance before returning to exercise.
- Begin slowly (50-60% of your maximum effort) and build up your tolerance gradually rather that hitting the gym hard and wearing yourself out.
- If using weight don’t go heavy too fast, only increase the weight by ≥10% each week to give your muscles a chance to adapt. Be patient with yourself and think long term!
- Create realistic, achievable goals for yourself.
- Finding the time to engage in regular exercise can be tricky. The key is to prioritise your schedule so that exercise becomes part of your daily routine.
- Don’t forget to warm up, stretch and cool down for each workout to prevent injuries and to keep your muscles flexible as they get stronger.
- Bring your phone or iPod so that you can listen to music as you exercise. Try creating a playlist with lively, upbeat songs that will help to motivate you!
Choosing the Right Exercise for You!
Whether you prefer to work out independently or as part of a group, indoors or outdoors, early in the morning or late in the evening, there is something out there for everyone.
When starting off I would highly recommend trying as many different types of exercise as you can, this will give you a better idea of what you like, what you hate, and what you could happily incorporate into your life long-term. You never know what might take your fancy!