Here are some tips to ease you back into the fitness world…
Lockdown restrictions are lifting and over 5 million people in the UK have received their second vaccination, giving great hope for the future. This also means that gyms, bootcamps and sporting events are back.
Throughout the first two lockdowns, home workouts were the height of popularity but as we got through the colder months they began to fizzle out for most people. The last thing I wanted to do was push myself on a 5k run in the rain. So, if your anything like me it can seem daunting to get back into fitness.
As I can imagine, for some of you readers, the thought of getting back to ‘normal life’ is overwhelming. Whether you have a set yourself up to run a marathon this summer or are simply wanting to get active again and feel your best for the return to normality, here are some tips to ease you back in.
I’m sure we are all eager to hit the gym or relax in a beer garden, especially when the sun is out. But after a year of unease and worry it can be easy to burn yourself out. Creating a daily routine allocating time for work, gym and social plans is essential to prevent post-lockdown burn out. Planning the week ahead is helpful to achieve your fitness goals and allowing for rest days, so your body can recover optimally between each workout.
It’s important to remember that if you haven’t been overly active in a few months, you might not be able to run that 5k at the same pace as before. If you have to go at a slower pace or light lighter, that’s totally normal and many of us are in the same position. Start off slow, be kind to yourself and lower your expectations slightly. Overall, it’s important to focus on not only the physical benefits of exercise but also the mental. Staying in your own lane; even going for a long walk is a cardio and mind-clearing activity.
Chances are that we all know somebody who became self-employed during lockdown, one of those people may have become a personal trainer. Getting back in touch with friends and starting a new hobby is a great way to build your confidence post-lockdown. This can boost motivation and make you actually excited to get moving.
Outdoor bootcamps are increasingly popular due to their social nature. Meeting new likeminded people, catching breakfast post-work out or even a night out on the weekend. Bootcamps can be a great way to ease yourself into fitness and socialising at the same time. And as we gradually enter warmer weather, these bootcamps are a great chance to get that serotonin we’ve all been craving.
Another less daunting fitness activity I discovered during lockdown is dance workouts on YouTube. These can be done in the comfort of your living room or back garden and are especially fun when joined with family members or housemates. Bike rides are another freeing activity to get you out of the house and into the fresh air, whether you ride to the local coffee shop or further afield.
There is so much pressure online to get your ‘hot girl summer’ body but it’s equally important to focus on your mental health. There’s no denying that working out can make you feel great, not just physically but mentally. Especially if you work from home, getting out of the house can do wonders for your mood, in turn increasing productivity and a better night’s sleep. Working out can help you feel less anxious and more relaxed, perfect after a busy or stressful day at the office. But if the gym isn’t your cup of tea, a humble walk in nature can clear your mind and give you the time to focus on the positives of your day.
The most important thing of all for post-lockdown fitness motivation is reflection. From self-compliments to eliminating self-criticism, learning to not be your worst enemy can be difficult. Pay attention to your thoughts, try and replace negative comments with positive affirmations to create a self-compassionate outlook on yourself.
Journaling is a popular mindful activity, a place to write down your accomplishments from the week and what you would like to achieve in the following days. Getting out for a daily walk is a huge accomplishment for some, but writing it down can help you look back and realise how much you have progressed.
If you find yourself unmotivated and at a lack of motivation, that’s totally okay. Feeling guilty for not doing an activity is normal. Often there are more important things to be prioritised, we are only human at the end of the day. If you feel like a day off the gym and a glass of wine in the garden, please don’t punish yourself for not sticking to a plan. Life is about balance, and after over a year of being indoors, it can be tricky to get this right!
Self-care isn’t only important during tough times it is important all the time. So if you aren’t quite ready to hit the gym, join a fitness bootcamp or have a busy schedule, it’s okay. Reflecting on how you feel can help boost your spirit and ensure you make the decisions right for you.