It’s bound to happen.
You’re away on a trip without access to workout facilities… or
You tweak your back/knee/shoulder and can’t work out for weeks… or
A worldwide pandemic keeps you stuck in your house for three months without access to a gym, a workout partner – or the motivation to get off the couch and brush the cookie crumbs off your sweatshirt.
Whatever the reason, you’ve been away from your workout routine for many moons and flyby asteroids.
Then something changes and you’re ready to get back to it.
Only it’s a different world from when you did your routine.
Both inside and out.
For starters, muscle tone has left the building… and it took strength with it, too.
Cardio-wise, you’re puffing going up the same flight of stairs you used to walk up without a hitch. While carrying groceries.
You’ve reached a crossroads: keep on the same path into the flabby wilderness OR… return to your fit and firm bad self.
If you decide to take care of yourself like you take care of everyone else, you’ll opt for the latter.
I’ll assume as much for the sake of this post.
So where do you start?
If you’ve not yet ever worked out, have no fear! See the recommended posts below to get started.
If you’ve worked out regularly for a few months or longer and would like to get back to that level of fitness, the tips below will help you do it safely.
No, I’m not referring to a Nordstrom’s sale, although retail therapy isn’t the worst idea IMO. When it’s been more than a couple of weeks since you last got your sweat on, start at about half your usual intensity. This goes for weights as well as time for cardio. See how you feel the next day. The general rule is to increase 10% each week until you’re back to business as usual.
Foam rolling before and after – or simple stretching – can ease discomfort from reawakening muscles. It’s good as a regular practice but especially now. Or mix in a yoga or Pilates class for extra stretching.
If you’re really sore, over-the-counter pain relievers help ease inflammation. A doctor once told me, “Don’t try to tough it out! It’s not good for your body to be inflamed. Take something if you need it.” And, obviously, if your doctor says it’s safe for you.
You lose cardiovascular fitness before strength, so get back on that saddle as soon as you can. Just be sure to ease into it as well.
We all have times when we can’t do our usual routine. Do not beat yourself up over it. Like eating healthy, it’s the average of what you do every day that counts, not the one or two times in your life when you fall short.
Other posts you may enjoy…
Linda Melone is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, certified trainer and award-winning health and fitness writer. She specializes in helping women over 50 get in shape and lose weight.