Warm weather and the long days of summer are behind us and you realize you didn’t quite get back into that exercise routine as you planned. First, know that you are not alone and that any time is a good time to get into a fitness routine. Keep a few key recommendations in mind and you will be off to a strong start.

Ease Into It

Gone are the days of “no pain, no gain!” Effective workouts don’t need to leave you gasping for air or sore for days. When looking to kick off a workout routine, remember to start slow. Begin by evaluating your goals and choosing ones that are realistic for you today. The hardest part to any exercise routine is getting started, so start with day one and ease your way into a consistent habit.

Start With What Works For You

Get going with your exercising commitment by starting with what works best for you. Only have time in your schedule for one workout a week? Great! Start there and add activity as you are able. Being consistent, even if that means one day a week, will certainly move you closer to achieving your goals in the long run.

Take Rest Days and Get Sleep

Rest is just as important as exercise. Your body needs time to recover, especially after a workout and as you increase in activity. Schedule rest days – days when you are not exercising – into your week to ensure you are able to recover. Prioritize how much sleep you are getting. Not only will this help ensure you are well rested for activity the following day, but there are many other benefits to a good night’s sleep. Sleep is key to overall health. So, take advantage of the shorter days by getting to bed earlier, giving your body more time to rest and recover.

Listen to Your Body

Your body will tell you what it needs, all you need to do is listen. Feeling thirsty? Hydrate. Walking zombie? Get some sleep. Really sore or in pain? Rest. Don’t ignore the messages your body is trying to communicate. Listen to your body and respond appropriately to best ensure you stay injury free and can stay consistent working toward your goals.

Ask For Help

Don’t shy away from asking for help as you start an exercise routine. Most fitness centers have trained staff as a resource to help you exercise safely and who are ready to give tips and advice when asked. At the Y, we offer an orientation for all new members as a way to help them get started. Looking for a little more guidance or someone to help keep you motivated and on track? Consider a personal trainer. If you aren’t comfortable asking staff, working out with a friend is another way to build consistency in your routine while gaining confidence along the way.

Now You’re Ready

Remember, you are not alone! Cooler, shorter days get many of us thinking more seriously about exercise. Start slow and with a routine that is comfortable for you, remember to get plenty of rest, listen to your body, and find help when you need it to ensure your transition back to exercise is smooth and injury free.

Ryan Grey is Assistant Director of Fitness at the Greater Burlington YMCA. He holds a BS in Exercise Science from the University of Vermont and is a certified personal trainer. To learn more about fitness, including personal training, at the YMCA, contact Ryan at rgrey@gbymca.org or call 802-652-8183.

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