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5 Steps to Getting Back to Shape after Years of Inactivity

by DrPrem Jagyasi
Getting Back to Shape

If you’re getting back into exercise after a year or longer without physical activity, you should ease into it. This can be easier said than done if you’re excited about getting back into shape — because you’re motivated to look good for a high school reunion or you’ve just met the love of your life. 

If you’re in a hurry to get back to the lithe person you used to be, you might be tempted to throw caution to the wind. However, if you just start running, doing calisthenics, lifting weights, or diving into the pool and doing laps without wasting a moment more, you are likely to regret it. You could either get extremely sore the next day or, worse still, injure yourself. Your enthusiasm will result in you being forced to take a few days off…or quit altogether.

Let’s take a look at how to ease into your new health and fitness goal so that you can quickly get up to speed on reaching it.

Protect weak areas with a compression sleeve

sleeves

If you have a few weak body parts, you can protect them with athletic compression sleeves and braces. For instance, if you have plantar fasciitis problems with your feet, wear compression socks. These are specially designed socks to provide proper foot support and prevent injury. According to OS1st.com, a “performance compression sleeve helps relieve pain from muscle stiffness and soreness…reduces the time it takes for muscles to repair themselves…provides the right amount of compression for each body part… improves venous return and oxygenation to working muscles.”

Get the right gear

It’s important to get the right gear. While some of it might be essential for the sport, other ancillary stuff can put you in the right mood, add motivation, and help you keep track of your progress over time.

Here are two examples:

  1. If you’re running, don’t just throw on any old pair of sneakers–you need shoes especially designed for runners. And, while you’re at it, wear a Fitbit or some other convenient wearable technology, so you can keep track of how many steps you take each day. It’s also great to have some music and headphones, and, while you’re at it, why not buy yourself a special outfit, perhaps a track suit or the perfect top and shorts. Think of the Rocky Balboa movies and the special music that played when he slipped on his special gear to get back into shape.
  2. If you’re going to lift weights, pack your gym bagwith a weight lifting belt, wrist wraps, an extra pair of clothes, music with a selected playlist, and a journal to keep track of your progress.

Make stretching your friend

stretching

Dedicated athletes stretch. It’s not that they find it any less boring than you do, but they’ve learned through painful experience that when muscles tighten up, it causes painful pressure in muscle bellies, cartilages, and tendons. Over time, this initial pain gets worse. By stretching before and after a workout, they prepare their body before the sport or help it recover after the sport. Consider stretching a necessary part of your workout, rather than something you should do but which you only happen to do when you’re in the mood.

Stay hydrated

You’ve probably heard this bit of advice before … and if you’re like most people, you quickly forget about it — or you only do it a few times and then lose interest. However, in an article, Hydration for Athletes, Family Doctor explains exactly why this is so important: “Water regulates your body temperature and lubricates your joints. It helps transport nutrients to give you energy and keep you healthy. If you’re not hydrated, your body can’t perform at its highest level. You may feel tired, have muscle cramps, dizziness, or other serious symptoms.”

Progressive training

Squat exercise at the gym

In bodybuilding, there is a principle called “progressive training.” Essentially, it means that as you get stronger, you should add more weights or do more reps because your body has adapted to the stress of a workout. The same idea can be applied in any sport. Start slowly and gradually build up the intensity over weeks and months.

These five steps can help you avoid the frustration of short-circuiting your goals, the pain of getting sore or injured, and the subsequent loss of momentum towards better health.

Article Submitted By Community Writer

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