Hello exercise, my old friend.

Whether you’re recovering from an injury, pregnancy or just getting back into it after a lengthy break, returning to exercise and finding the motivation to do so, can be hard.  

You may be someone who is raring to go, and that’s great! But if you’re not that someone, and instead see the return to exercise as something quite daunting, then don’t worry. It’s ok to feel overwhelmed or uninspired at the start. The little voice at the back of your mind telling you “that it’s time to get back into exercise again” may be there, sure, but the spark to actually get up and move, especially after a timeout, may not be.

Here are some key things to remember, to help get your head back in the zone.

1. Time is an easy excuse, but here’s why it shouldn’t be.

There are 24 hours in a day. That means 8 hours for work, 8 hours for sleep and 8 hours for doing what you want.

Now, even the most enthusiastic Netflix-ers know that 8 hours of TV and couch time on any given day – unless of course it’s a particularly brutal “don’t talk to me” kind of day – is a bit much. So ask yourself, what are you doing with your spare time? What are the barriers stopping you from returning to exercise?

2. Find what works for you

Ultimately, motivation is all we need to get things done: like the housework, our day jobs, life admin, dinners with the in-laws, exercise. It can also be one of the hardest things to muster up.

The key to finding your motivation, is to take the time and discover what works best for you, what gets you fired up.

When it comes to exercise, there are infinite ways of working out and keeping active. Whether indoors or outdoors, early morning or late at night, solo or as part of a class, at the gym or at home. So:

  • find an activity or workout that you’re interested in and that you genuinely enjoy
  • find a trainer or instructor that really supports and encourages you
  • be open to the fact that what works for you now, may be totally different to what you used to do and love
  • listen to your body.

You’ll know it’s right for you when it’s something that you actively want to make space for in your life and integrate into your routine.

3. Consistency and routine is key

Once you’ve found what works best for you, create a routine that lets you easily integrate your workouts with the rest of your week.

Let’s say you do 1x walk, 1x PT session and 1x gym class, each at a set time every week: this consistency and routine of knowing when and where you’ll be working out, will mean you won’t waste time and energy psyching yourself up or making excuses to get out of doing it.

To quote the wise words of Nike, a consistent routine will mean you “just do it.”

4. Have the confidence to adapt

If you’re time poor, because let’s face it, most of us only have or want to commit 30-45 minutes a day to our workouts, remember that exercise need not be a gruelling sweat-sesh in the gym.

Adapt how you fit exercise into your day.

Go for a walk; join a team sport; sign up to a personal trainer or go to a gym class. Have the confidence to ease back into your exercise routine at a sustainable pace and in a way that suits you.

5. Find your purpose

Exercise doesn’t need to be about becoming the bulked up “look at me” guy in front of the mirror at the gym, or the shredded girl in full makeup taking a selfie on the treadmill. You don’t need to start counting macros or weighing your food either. Just be you.

Because exercise isn’t just about obtaining a certain physique and getting fit.

In fact, it doesn’t have to be about either of these things if you don’t want it to. Approach your return to exercise as a hobby, as ‘you’ time; your escape from the stresses of home, work and ‘adulting.’

Set yourself short-term goals and chase them. Don’t run before you can walk. The key is to just get moving and keep moving.

Find your motivation. Find your purpose. Thrive on being active again.

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