Stepping (Back) into Your Exercise Routine

Stepping (Back) into Your Exercise Routine

Take baby steps to break out of your winter rut and prioritize your workout.

I’ll admit it: When it comes to exercise, if I don’t have the right amount of sleep, nourishment and preparation, I’m basically a mess.

So how do we shift our thinking to accommodate our own health needs? Start with a personal inventory and make small adjustments with big impact. During my many transitions to and from the world of exercise, a few key tips truly help me stay motivated – or get back into the groove of things.

Find Your Time
I’ll be the first one to say that early morning workouts aren’t my thing. I’m much better by nine or ten o’clock … or even lunchtime. Gradually I’ve been able to train myself to make it to earlier classes on the weekends – or to go on a walk or run first thing (before anyone else is awake). But it doesn’t come naturally.

Find the optimal time of day for that twenty to thirty minutes that’s just for you (or just twenty minutes anywhere that isn’t already spoken for). Schedule yourself and avoid committing to anything else during that time.

Take it Slow
I remember it vividly, the time I promised myself I’d start going to 6 a.m. yoga classes – with no real preparation. Luckily I’ve learned a bit since then: Take it slow if you’ve been away from the gym or studio for a while. Or, even if you haven’t.

Get Your Shut-eye
This was a hard lesson to learn, but I finally figured out that eight is my “magic number.” Maybe your number is six, but if I don’t have those hours logged I’m not doing much before the day begins (especially walking or running).

I deal with inertia just like everyone else. So I tried sleeping in my running clothes (I’m not joking), just to make it easier to get out the door. But if I burned the midnight oil and didn’t get the shut-eye necessary to restore my system, I’d hit the snooze button without even remembering. So, note to self: Get some sleep or don’t plan on an early workout.

Find more ways to get that refreshed spring feeling

Cut Yourself Some Slack
I find myself in workout clothes some days when I never actually exercise. But it’s the thought that counts, right? Correct. Better to be prepared with clothes on the ready in case you can sneak in 10 minutes.


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I always remember my little bag of freshness inside my larger gym bag in case I get in a run before school pick up (or the grocery). Deodorant is key! I like the New Secret Outlast Xtend because that it releases a burst of freshness throughout the day – so if you get that workout in before you pick up the kids from school – never fear! (At least you won’t smell like you did.)

Grab a Partner
You’ve heard it dozens of times, but that’s because it does work: “Find a partner.” If I haven’t moved my body in ages, there’s nothing like having an exercise buddy to pump me up for that first day back. And, like many things in life, sharing the experience just makes it richer (even if we’re both complaining for the first few minutes). So join forces with a friend and you’ll have more accountability and fewer excuses.

Establish Easy Access
Having a bag packed and ready in all of the necessary places will help eliminate excuses like, “I forgot my gym clothes.” That means your car, your office and any other helpful locations (like a locker, if you keep one). Easy access to your necessities and toiletries will help smooth out the before and after process of exercise, so you have everything at your fingertips.

Silence the Naysayer
Once I make a plan to step outside or hit a class at the gym, the little voice in my head starts listing all of the things I “need” to do before taking care of myself. It’s easy to talk yourself out of exercise on a weekly basis: “I need to stop at the store. I won’t have enough time to straighten up before the kids are home. The dog needs to go out.”

Until I finally said, “Enough is enough.” Remind yourself that your body needs exercise like it needs food, and make the time to prioritize your needs, too.

Be Kind to Yourself
Getting back into exercise is a little like rekindling a relationship. You’re a little excited and a lot nervous. But don’t let your doubting self get in the way of stepping outdoors and carving out time to move and recharge your battery.

The hardest part of any workout is showing up. So the next time you show up for yourself and make it to a scheduled workout or walk with a friend, acknowledge the win – and go ahead, take a victory lap.

How do you stick to your workout routine (or revive it)?

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