Everyone experiences it. Life gets too busy, other commitments pull our focus, or an injury stops the trips to the gym. Regardless of the reason, it is extremely common to fall out of a fitness routine, and it can be difficult to get back into the swing of things.

However, while it might take a bit of patience, time, and drive, anybody can increase their activity level once again.

Mentally Prepare and Motivate

Sometimes just the thought of working out feels overwhelming. Even professional athletes experience burnout, stress, and workout anxiety. Discovering new motivation is a great way to move past these mental blocks.

If you were previously working out just to get in shape, they could shift into workouts or sports focusing more on fun than on pure calorie burning. Enjoying an activity moves it away from feeling like a chore and makes it easier to jump into.

man diving into the lake


Set Times and Commit

It is way easier to avoid an activity than it is to actually do it — many people have the desire to work out but find reasons that keep them from actually exercising.

Try scheduling exercise times and think of them as no less important than work meetings or appointments. Something as simple as going for a walk can increase fitness levels and act as the first step to getting back into an old fitness routine.

Exercise written on a calendar, scheduled workout


Workout Early to Keep Motivation High

Some studies indicate that humans really do have a “battery” that slowly drains throughout the day. Many people wake up and have lots of motivation to tackle the day ahead, but that willpower is severely diminished by 5 pm.

Exercising in the morning, when that get-up-and-go feeling is at its peak, makes getting back into a routine that much easier.

woman going for an early-morning jog


Ease Into It

When returning to a fitness program, people often expect to be able to start right where they left off. Unfortunately, this is rarely the case. Surprisingly, more skilled or more active people may notice an even larger drop in their fitness levels.

Doing too much after a long break increases the risk of injuries and can deal a dramatic blow to motivation levels. Take it slow and steady and ease back into the routine. Start with lighter weights or shorter workout times.

older woman sitting on couch lifting light weights


Focus on Form

People often rely on muscle memory when returning to their workout routines, but bodily changes and other factors can cause exercise form to suffer after a long break.

Restarting a routine is the perfect time to focus on form and build good, healthy habits. Doing so also helps prevent injuries that may further delay a return to routine.

young woman lifting weights looking at form in mirror


Stretch More

Stretching is an integral part of any workout routine at any fitness level. Primarily, stretching helps prevent injuries.

Beyond that, our muscles and joints are often far stiffer after being sedentary. Stretching allows the body to slowly and naturally regain a healthy range of motion. It also acts as a simple way to ease back into exercising.

woman doing dynamic stretches before a workout


Take Time To Rest

When trying to get back into a fitness routine, many people tend to overdo it. The motivation to regain what they feel was "lost" often drives them to dangerous levels of exercise.

Resting is just as important as the routine itself. Take time to allow muscles to heal. Make sure to get plenty of sleep. Finding a good post-workout recovery plan is key to a healthy relationship with fitness.

woman and daughter meditating on the couch


Exercise With a Buddy

Exercising alone requires way more motivation than working out with a friend. People are far more likely to stick to a routine if friends are doing it, as well.

Adding some pals into the mix — either working out together or acting as accountability buddies — makes working out more fun. Plus, everyone tends to push each other while also looking out for one another.

smiling friends going to work out together


Pick Up Some New Gear

A long sedentary period is a great time to pick up some new workout equipment, like running shoes, new weights, or a good exercise outfit. Studies show that new clothes and looking good inspire confidence and provide a source of motivation.

Spending money on new gear can drive you to use it more often, plus there's a good chance the old footwear or sports bra needed replacing anyway. Think of it as a reward for getting back into the swing of things.

woman looking at new running shoes


No Punishments

Some people feel a sense of guilt or shame if they miss a workout, especially if they are coming out of a long break. Because of this, they may try to add extra exercises to the next workout or skip a meal to make up for not losing the calories.

This mindset is incredibly dangerous and can lead to injuries, disordered eating, and burnout. People skip workouts all the time. Just keep trying to stick to the routine and try changing things up if the habit is not sticking. Fitness influencers sometimes point out that you wouldn't give up on showering just because you didn't shower one day. You just have your shower (and your workout) the next day!

smiling father and daughter doing exercises at home


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