Coming out of fitness hibernation


While some people use the new year as a fresh start for fitness, winter can be a major roadblock for others. If you’ve put exercise on hold in exchange for some major couch time, you’re not alone.

Here are some tips to ease back into exercise if you’ve been dormant for a few months (or more).

Take it slow and steady. If you’ve fallen out of your fitness routine, it’s okay to start out slow and ease back into it. Sign up for a beginner’s yoga class, take a gentle nature hike, pick up some lighter weights, or choose a shorter bicycling route without so many hills.

Go for a walk. If you’re not quite ready to run a marathon, start out with some brisk walking. Aim for 30 minutes a day, which you can split into three 10-minute walks, if needed.

Make small changes. Choosing to take the stairs or park farther away will boost your overall health and make your wellness goals easier to reach.

Experiment. Now is a great time to think hard about the type of exercise that’s right for you. If you’ve fallen out of love with your old standbys, look for trial memberships at area gyms or studios; check out a new workout DVD from the library or search for videos online; or discover the outdoors on foot, on a bike, or in a kayak.

Plan. Creating specific activity goals can help you set a routine and stay focused. This could be anything from how many minutes you’ll work out each week to competing in a triathlon. Track your progress, celebrate when you reach your goals, and then set some new ones.

Make it a (good) habit. Make fitness a priority and work it into your regular lifestyle, rather than squeezing it in as a last-minute inconvenience.

Learn more about the American Heart Association’s recommendations for regular physical activity.

Sources: American Heart Association; American College of Sports Medicine.

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