Why Is It Important to Ease into an Exercise Program?
Working out and maintaining strength is critical for reducing back pain and stress. When back and abdominal muscles are weak, they cannot support the back properly. Back strengthening exercises help reinforce supportive muscles around the spine that prevent straining and increase range of motion. If it’s been a while since you last worked out, you might be eager to rush back into exercising with the hope of quickly achieving your goals. However, rushing into exercise after a period of inactivity can sometimes do more harm than good.
Jumping straight into an advanced workout routine is an easy way to cause injury and delay your overall goals even further. Whether you’re completely new to exercise or are recovering from an injury, it’s important to ease into a new exercise program so your body has time to adapt to the increased exertion exercise demands. Here are a few tips on how to ease back into exercise to get you started.
Slow And Steady Wins The Race
Keep it short and sweet — the key is being active on a regular schedule. You don’t need to be a super athlete each day, especially if you're recovering from an injury. Go for a light jog even just twice per week and ramp it up from there over time. Be sure to listen to your body - pain is an indicator that you are pushing yourself too hard.
Once you’ve started to get used to exercising, you can start gradually ramping up the difficulty and intensity of your workouts. Start in small increments, like adding time to certain exercises or incorporating new variations of your exercises into your routine. The goal is to ease yourself back into exercising without injuring yourself but to also not be so slow that you don’t see any progress.
Always Warm-Up And Cool-Down
A proper warm-up prepares your body for the increase in activity in a natural and healthy way. Stretching is also a must. Stretching keeps you limber and strengthens the muscles to facilitate healthy recovery and avoid serious injury, especially if you’ve been sedentary for a long time. If you have a desk job or work from home, you can try some at-home stretching exercises during the day to help keep you limber.
Just as warming up is important, so is cooling down. You will likely experience DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) on your fitness journey. This is completely normal and warming up/cooling down will help mitigate this from happening.
Don’t Lose Motivation
Set realistic goals for yourself. Start with small, easily attainable goals to keep yourself feeling accomplished and motivated. Motivation can wane if you start to feel discouraged or lazy. Take your gym bag to work and go straight to the gym instead of stopping by home. Make working out a part of your daily routine. The first few weeks will be difficult but once it becomes a habit, you will enjoy exercising even more.
Having a formal workout plan can also help you stay on track. Start by assessing your fitness goals. Whether you’re looking to lose weight, increase muscle mass, or increase your stamina, a plan can help you stay motivated to achieve those goals. Consider consulting with a doctor or personal trainer to better assess your goals and develop a plan from there.
Make Sure You’re Good-To-Go Before Starting
Ultimately, your chiropractor is the best resource you have when it comes to injury recovery. A good chiropractor can expedite the recovery process and constantly monitor and consult with you to make sure you’re properly prepared to continue the activities you love.
Consult with your chiropractor to find out if you’re ready to get back into a rigorous workout routine, or get in touch today for an initial appointment!