As the weather warms up and the sun sets later, you might be thinking about resuming a workout routine that fell by the wayside in winter. Below we offer some advice to help you get back on the horse, so to speak, and reinstate your athletic routine.

Start Slow

If you haven’t worked out for several months, your body isn’t prepared to take on the same athletic challenges. To ensure that you don’t put too much strain on your body, here are some steps to take:

  • Design an exercise plan. Create a plan that begins with conservative exercise loads and gradually ramp it up over time.
  • Do a dynamic warm up and cool down. A warmup gradually raises your body temperature and increases blood flow to the muscles. Warming up can reduce muscle soreness and reduce risk of injury. A cool down is just as important as it aids in muscle recovery and allows your body temperature, blood pressure, and heart rate to return to their normal levels.

Find a Workout You Love

When you are doing something you enjoy, you’re more likely to keep doing it. As spring weather emerges, it’s a great time to enjoy the outdoors. Some low-impact exercises to consider are:

  • Taking a walk around the neighborhood.
  • Going for a bike ride in the park.
  • Hiking a local trail.

How to Stay Motivated

The idea of getting back into a workout routine can be overwhelming, so be patient. It may take several days to make something a part of your normal routine. To stay motivated:

  • Take the initial steps. This could be something like going to the gym. But it also could be something as simple as putting on your sneakers or hopping on your bike. Making the initial effort helps you move forward.
  • Mix it up. Doing a variety of things is a great way to stimulate the mind and body. A mix of cardio and weight training is beneficial as well.
  • Give yourself time for rest and recovery. Allow yourself at least one or two days a week to rest. People who work out seven days a week may see a decrease in muscular strength and cardiovascular conditioning. They are also greater risk for chronic and acute injury.
  • Stop pressuring yourself.  You can make the workout as easy or as hard as you need it to be that day. You feel different every day, and so you get to choose what level of exercise you need to hit that particular day.