Exercise feels good, right? At least, that’s what we’re told. Endorphins flowing, blood pumping, all smiles and laughter.
That’s a nice idea, but we all have good and bad days. Maybe you’re not a regular ‘mover’, maybe you’ve had a little hiatus from raising your heart rate (hi coronavirus), or maybe it’s been a long week and your mind is anywhere but in class with you.
As gyms, studios and fitness centres re-open this week, please take a few moments to reflect on how you’ve moved your body over the last 3 months while they’ve been closed. Take away any judgement, any shame, and be real with yourself – for most of us, our exercise habits have changed.
It’s okay to say that exercise doesn’t always feel great. It can be overwhelming; it can stir up feelings of inadequacy, of competition, and of complete lack of worth.
In these times, it is important to recognise that you might not be able to lift the same weight you were lifting before lockdown (or do the same number of reps, or load your body for the same amount of time). It is also important to remember that just because it doesn’t feel amazing, that doesn’t mean that you’re wasting your time. Taking it slow now and easing yourself back in will keep you in the gym longer term, and not turn this 3 month break into 6 months because you’ve overdone it in the first week back.
If you’re in a group environment, maybe you need to listen out for some more supportive options. I know, it’s not always easy to be the first person to drop your knees or take a quick break. We’ve all been there; our body says ‘please give me some more support’ and our ego says ‘I can’t be the only one doing something different’.
Here are a few tips to help you get through a (mentally) tough workout:
· Give yourself permission to listen to your body and take breaks when you need
· Listen out to the options given in a group class; think of it as giving your body the support it needs to work out safely and effectively
· Remember that it’s your workout – the instructor/coach is there to help you get through it
· Everyone is concentrating on their own burning muscles; they couldn’t care less if you’re planking on knees or toes or taking a quick break to catch your breath!
· Remember that good form and controlled movement will get you a lot closer to your goals than pushing or rushing through poor form.
· If you’re back in the gym for some heavy lifting, don’t go straight for your PB. Do a week or two at 60%, and then at 70%. Work back up towards your PB the same way you did the first time (probably not after 3 months out of the gym).
Who knows, maybe you taking the first move will help someone else to take a more supportive option too!
If you’re feeling a little rusty, use this opportunity to give yourself some extra TLC. Prioritise stretching and recovery after your workouts, and book an appointment with one of our chiropractors or myotherapists who can support you as you transition back into your exercise program. Appointments available online or by calling 03 5222 6868.
Image Credit: Jeanie Irving