Why should you ease back into fitness?

You may have spent the spring being less active than you typically are or being active differently due to the current global health concerns. As things begin to jump back in place, here are a few tips for easing back into fitness this summer.

Start Slow

Begin exercising three times a week, with a rest day in between to allow your muscles to recover. Whether it is cardio exercise or strength training, start slow and ease into the exercise routine. A walking program is a great way to ease yourself back into more activity. When beginning a walking program:

  1. Start by focusing on your walking posture. Make sure you are standing up tall. Focus on the ground 20 feet in front of you; this will help keep your head more upright and helps negotiate objects that may be in your path.
  2. Always strike with your heel, roll through to your toe, and push off from your toes. When you feel comfortable with your walking stride, you can add in an arm swing.
  3. Adding arm swing can increase calories burned by 5-10% and can balance your leg motion.
  4. Another tip is to start on flat ground, as your endurance and strength improve, try to find hills and inclines to walk on.

Stay Active on Your Off Days

Being sore, especially after starting to work out again, is normal. By staying active on your off days, you maintain consistency and decrease the soreness you may experience. Add in a yoga flow to increase flexibility. Movements such as warrior, cat-cow, cobra, bridge, and butterfly pose can increase mobility.

  • Warrior: This pose is excellent for increasing flexibility through the hips and core muscles.
  • Cat-Cow: This pose is essential for spine flexibility
  • Cobra: This pose is important for increasing deep spinal column flexibility and strengthening
  • Bridge: This pose is great for increasing overall flexibility
  • Butterfly: This pose is essential for increasing hip and groin mobility.

By staying active through activities such as yoga, you can aid in your recovery time from day-to-day.

Try a New Activity or Exercise

Trying something new is always fun and exciting. If you haven’t taken your bike out in a while or haven’t dusted it off from the winter, taking a bike ride is excellent for you both physically and mentally. People who take more regular bike rides had lower rates of heart disease and cancer. A few tips during this time to think about bicycle riding:

  1. Keep 6 feet apart from fellow cyclists and pedestrians even at stoplights or on trails
  2. Stick closer to home, try exploring trails and areas you might not go in your car or are not accessible by car
  3. Tone down your intensity, for the time being, you don’t want to get injured or hurt during this time.
  4. Prepare for your ride by always wearing your helmet.

Find something you enjoy doing and someone to do it with

It is hard to find motivation when you are doing something you don’t enjoy. Pick an activity that you like to do. According to Health and Human Services, less than 5% of adults participate in 30 minutes of daily exercise. When your activity or exercise is something you enjoy, it will be less challenging to motivate yourself to exercise. It is also important to have someone to workout with regularly. Having a workout buddy keeps you motivated and keeps you accountable. You can’t fizzle out and stay on your couch when someone is waiting for you to exercise.

Physical Therapist at Freedom Physical Therapy Services
Molly Rittberg received her master’s degree in Physical Therapy in 2007 from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and went on to receive her doctorate from Rosalind Franklin University (North Chicago) in 2009. She has since worked in an outpatient orthopedic practice where she worked with patients of all ages, injuries and disabilities. She has a wide variety of experiences including knee, ankle, foot and shoulder injuries, post-operative conditions, spinal rehabilitation and peripheral neuropathies.