movement · yoga

5 things to understand when you restart exercise after a break

Exercise is one of those things most of us think we should do more of-for whatever reason, maybe you aren’t getting enough movement- were you on vacation?

IMG_1373Recovering from an injury? Raising small humans? Life just generally getting in the way? It happens to all of us.

  1. Start where you are. You might have set the record for long jump at your high school, which still stands. The record, not the school building. Wow. Good job.  But don’t assume you can still jump that far, and don’t beat yourself up when you can’t. Feel what your body can do, and work from there, rather than trying to kick above your own head or do the splits because you used to be able to.
  2. Remember that you notice yourself more than other people notice you. This is tricky with group situations, and it is why many people feel more comfortable watching videos at home. Almost everyone in the class, and the locker room, and the park, and the lake and the pool, is much more worried about themselves than they are about judging you.  There may be a handful of a-holes, but don’t worry about it. Avoid the mirrors, if that helps, but don’t worry about other people’s opinions about your body.
  3. Choose activities in the class or gym that you are able to complete safely. Again, in group situations, there is some pressure (maybe from peers, mostly from ego) about trying everything. When the yoga teacher says, “If headstand is part of your regular practice…” she isn’t saying “try a headstand, chicken, I dare you… bok bok bok.”  This is a place to exercise self-control- I struggle with headstand. I get  weird pressure in my head, and I don’t like the sensation, but I sometimes feel like ought to try it.  But if I can’t do it safely, it doesn’t help me get stronger, it just puts me at risk.  Maybe I’ll never do headstands.  That’s fine- it’s my ego that has to deal with it.
  4. Play. A reason to come out to work out, rather than exercising at home, is to make friends. It can be fun to laugh and sweat with people. One of Crossfit’s big reasons for success is that it is intensely social, and being social is one of the reasons I go to Taekwondo as well (I’m kind of an odd duck, and people at our taekwondo school have welcomed me- maybe they are odd ducks, too.)
  5. Ignore the scale. Weight loss is not necessarily an accurate measure of fitness, or improvement. I’ve got lots of thoughts on this, for a future post, probably, but I think we have put too much emphasis on mass, not volume, or density, or any of the other metrics we can put on ourselves.  Obviously, I’ll have to put more thought into this before it becomes a whole post- rather than blathering on about graduated cylinders and stuff. Anyway, work out because it is fun, and you feel stronger, rather than to feel skinnier…

So, no matter how long you have been on the couch, come out and play, move your body and love your body.

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