After a long pause, have you decided to return to sports? Take your time. To resume workout after the break, you need a new plan, which will depend on why you haven’t exercised and how long you’ve been “resting”.
In any training, it is important to be systematic and regular. However, due to a variety of factors, physical exercise may need to be temporarily reduced or even stopped.
Short training breaks have absolutely little effect on the body, and you may recover from a small illness in a few workouts without changing the load. However, illness or injury may prevent you from attending the gym for an extended period of time. What to say about pregnancy: nine months without exhausting workouts.
To start workout after the break is difficult not only psychologically, but also physically. In sports science, there is even a special term for a long break from exercise and its consequences – rustiness. To properly start workout after a long break, you need not only to realize the changes that have occurred to your body during this time but also to build the process of returning to your former sports victories.
The recovery process after a forced rest will be slower, possibly even longer than the period of stagnation. And this is completely natural. After all, the muscles have become atrophied due to a lack of load and stress. As a result, workout after the break should be carefully planned.
Changes In The Body After A Break In Training
Without high loads, the body quickly returns to a relaxed state and redistributes the resources that it used to spend during sports. It has been proven that the following physiological changes occur within 1-2 months after stopping regular exercise:
- blood volume decreases;
- the level of adrenaline decreases, and with it the consumption of oxygen by the muscles, as a result, the endurance decreases;
- the abilities of the respiratory system are reduced: now the respiratory muscles require more oxygen, taking it from other muscles;
- the amount of fat increases as it is no longer used as an energy source;
- strength capabilities last much longer than many fear, but they are gradually decreasing.
Why Do You Need To Adapt Once You’ve Returned To Training
If after a break you suddenly return to the high-intensity exercise that you easily endured, for example, six months ago, you are likely to feel bad both during and after the exercise. Such stress on the body can turn not just into muscle pain and fatigue, but into a serious injury. Remember that your body is almost at the initial level of training.
So, now that you’ve decided to return to workout after the break, it’s time to create a plan. In each case, it will be different.
How To Return To Fitness After A Pause: General Tips
- Before returning to your favorite equipment and trainer after a break, be sure you’ve recovered, healed an injury, or recovered from childbirth, and that your doctor has given you permission to resume full training.
- If you have had an injury, consult with a sports medicine specialist to find a rehabilitation exercise program. When a pause was formed due to an exacerbation of the chronic disease, also discuss with your doctor what kind of loads are indicated during the period of remission.
- Begin by going to the pool. The strain on the spine and joints, in general, is lessened in the water.
- Combining fitness with massage classes is beneficial. This type of therapy will reduce stress in the injured area, as well as the clamps that have formed after pregnancy and childbirth.
- Don’t go back to your old regimen right away, increase the load gradually.
- After a short rest, begin your workout with a good warm-up. After a workout, don’t forget to stretch.
Returning To Training After An Injury
Did you go to the gym before your injury? This information is for you.
- Start with cardio workouts: 10-15 minutes at a heart rate of 115-125 beats per minute. Stretch your ligaments and joints thereafter, warm up, and only then begin strength training.
- If you used to bench press 150 kg and train your arms, buttocks, and legs on different workout days before the break, make it a habit to do a full-body workout in one session during the recovery period. Of course, with light weight.
- If the break is a year or more, take half or a third of the weight you lifted earlier. You can return to standard kilograms in a few weeks, and full recovery will take 1-2 months.
- Currently, a lot of exercises for one muscle are unnecessary. It is enough to do 2-3 sets in each of the exercises for your back, chest, legs and 1 set for the abs.
- At the end of your strength training, be sure to do cool down exercise for 5 minutes. So you will smoothly get out of stress and bring your pulse back to normal.
The intensity will have to be lowered for runners and cyclists, in general, anyone involved in sports that require endurance. Start with long walks, then include interval running, running at a slow pace.
Crossfit, functional training, step aerobics, and other high-intensity fitness activities are also worth returning to gradually. It is good to start with yoga, pilates, callanetics.
Sport After Childbirth
It will be possible to start full-fledged training no earlier than 1 month after natural childbirth and 2 months after childbirth with a caesarean section. After problem-free childbirth, it is allowed to perform restorative gymnastics, which stabilizes the muscles of the abdomen, chest, and back, within a day. But after the permission of the doctor!
After pregnancy and childbirth, you can do many things from the allowed list:
- Pilates and yoga;
- Active sports: volleyball, tennis, rollerblading, cycling, etc.
What Kind Of Workouts Are Undesirable After Childbirth
- Boxing, karate, and other martial arts. The risk of getting hit in the chest or not yet strong abs is too high.
- Sports that cause an adrenaline rush. A reduction in the amount of milk is possible.
- Running also affects the amount of milk and changes its taste, not for the better.
- Strength sports.
Strength training, if the woman is prepared and engaged in them earlier, can go gradually, 6 months after childbirth, if they went without complications and a year after caesarean section.
Features Of Fitness Classes After Pregnancy And Childbirth
- Get into the rhythm gradually. The training algorithm is standard: warm-up, workout, cool-down. Start with simple exercises with minimal repetitions, watch your body: if you feel that everything is fine, gradually increase the intensity.
- Workout at home every day for 20-30 minutes, 1-2 times a week fully train in the gym or in group classes.
- If you are breastfeeding, start exercising 2 hours after feeding. So until your baby’s next meal, the lactic acid that spoils the taste of milk is practically neutralized.
- You may need a bandage if you had a C-section.
- Watch the amount of liquid you drink. Less water means less milk.
- Be careful with the weights, so as not to provoke bleeding.
How Quickly You Get Back Into Your Former Shape
Returning to the former shape depends on three factors: the reason for the break in training (injury, laziness, pressure at work), the duration of the break (month, six months, several years), and, of course, the time of regular exercise before the break (you were training for six months or several years).
If you had been training for several years before the break and were in great shape, your comeback will be faster and easier than for those who have been training for up to six months.
The strength abilities will not change significantly if the pause in training was only a few months, but the respiratory and cardiovascular capacities will need to be restored. However, if the break was longer than a year, you will have to start from the beginning. You will, however, have more success than beginners.
Returning to exercise after an injury necessitates not only a consultation with your doctor but also a consultation with a trainer who can adapt the load to your fitness level while also preventing new injuries.
And most importantly, listen to yourself and listen to your body. Because no one knows its possibilities better than you.
What Not To Do at The Start
During training, you must be aware of the following prohibitions:
- Lack of a warm-up before exercise. Even a typical warm-up may seem difficult at first, so limit yourself to workout after the break. It is preferable to warm up without exercising rather than vice versa.
- Do not overtrain. One of the most common issues for those who return to sports after a long break is overtraining. It’s important to realize that a large load doesn’t automatically imply increased training intensity. Even professionals must keep an eye on the intensity and duration of the load in order to avoid “overcompensation”.
- Do not start sports activities with heavy exercise. If you train in a gym, you should prioritize pull-ups and bench presses at first. It is preferable for the instructor to establish a set of fundamental exercises that a person will follow for the first few months after a long break.
- Do not ignore the technique of the exercise. If skills are lost during a break, it is better to ask a trainer or fitness partner for help. Videos on the Internet can also help you recall the technique of certain exercises.
- Do not use sports nutrition and special preparations for gaining muscle mass. These products give the necessary effect after you reach the peak of your physiological capabilities.
Motivation To Get Back Into Rhythm
The best motivation comes from looking in the mirror and feeling bad. Anyone who has been exercising for a long time has become accustomed to the pace, lifestyle, and frequent exercise and activity, so returning to training without motivation is not an issue.