Let's say it's been a few weeks (or months) since your last workout. It could be a struggle to get back into it. Yet, it's important to find something you like and stick with it, as exercise is great for your health and for giving you that endorphin boost to fight stress and improve your wellbeing.
What might it feel like? "It's really dependent upon the person and their fitness level before they stopped working out," says Jeni Delpozo, Senior Instructor at SPEIR Pilates. Yet, start with what you know of first. "I recommend easing back into any workout that you were doing prior," she says.
Start a Little Backwards
Don't jump right into what you were doing before. "If you were lifting weights, go lighter. If you were running, go for a shorter run. If you were doing yoga/Pilates four times a week, start with two times and see how your body feels," she says.
Plus, listen to your body, take the breaks during your workout that you need to take, and know that you will get there again, eventually. It's not a race! It's more about creating a consistent schedule.
The best thing you can do is slowly get back into a routine and know it's going to be a process, she says. "That first workout is always the hardest, but you do have muscle memory and it will come back. Every workout will be slightly better. Notice that I said better and not easier," she says.
Foam Roll Regularly
If you're just starting out, you'll probably be sore. So, you'll need to keep muscles loose and free of tension to prevent injuries or chronic pain. "Remember to foam roll after whatever type of workout you do. Your body will thank you for it," she says.
Here's why it's great for you. "Foam rolling increases blood flow to the muscles and is an amazing self-massage that helps relax the fascia surrounding our muscles. Foam rolling will create better mobility, increasing your performance and help with recovery," she says.
Stretch After the Workout
Note that it's after the workout, not before, which can actually set you up for injury, she says. "Stretching is also important to do. *And do it after your workout. Too many people try to stretch as their 'warm up', however, your muscles are not warm, therefore, stretching does not help loosen up your muscles," she says.
"After your workout, when your muscles are nice and warm, stretch it all out. Lengthening out the muscles will help break up the lactic acid that builds in your muscles and makes you have the 'sore' feeling," she explains.
As for order, foam roll first, then stretch last, she says.