Skipping your workouts for a few days or a week is not going to derail your efforts in any way. It may, in fact, actually be good for you according to the American Council on Exercise. When you have been out of action for months or even years, however, you will have to take greater care over establishing a new workout routine for yourself. It does not matter what great shape you were in when you stopped working out, you will have to take a few steps back and systematically ease yourself into a workout regime again. While it may require a fair amount of discipline and hard work, a few basic guidelines will make it considerably easier to get back in shape after your break.

Start out slow

Whether you are starting an exercise routine for the first time ever or easing back into one after abstaining for a considerable period of time, starting out slow is of the utmost importance.  Decide what your ultimate goals are before commencing with foundational exercises that will systematically boost your fitness level while also strengthening your muscles and improving your range of motion. Whatever exercises you start with, stick to them and recreate a basic routine. As difficult as your first workout may be, it is more than likely all that will be required to get you excited about an exercise routine again.

Don’t neglect your self-care

Self-care should be considered a very important part of any workout routine. If you do not prioritize your own wellness, you will not be able to give your best while working out. Apart from following a healthy diet and getting enough sleep, you also need to ensure that you develop a beneficial post-workout routine. This includes wiping down any equipment you have used to combat the spread of germs, taking a shower or bath, and putting on clean clothes. As exercise can also leave your hair looking limp or greasy, you may want to invest in a headband or cap to absorb the sweat as well as a good quality shampoo to ensure your locks are healthy and shiny even after you have just completed your workout.

Set short-term achievable goals

It is important to set short-term goals for yourself if you want to remain motivated to exercise regularly. It is even more important that these goals are very specific as well as achievable. Start by determining what your overall goal is. Do you want to lose weight, regain your former physique, run a marathon, or simply lead a healthier life Once you have determined what your primary goal is, you can break it up into smaller, time-sensitive segments. Always be very realistic about your goals and keep things such as your fitness level and previous injuries into consideration. If you find it difficult to set goals for yourself, enlist the help of a personal trainer to help you with the task at hand.

Getting back into an exercise routine after a long hiatus may be somewhat daunting. Luckily, a positive mindset and a few basic guidelines are often all that’s needed to make the transition back into an active lifestyle.

By Jess Walter

Click here for full podcast playlist.