IIt’s easy to get caught up in the amusement park train of a new relationship with exercise. We will make a decision to get in shape and design a great training program — just to hit a wall all of a sudden. Why let us be true: Life happens. The best designed plans to go to the gym before work or cram into a Pilates class at lunch are sometimes discouraged. Before we know it, we have been completely derailed for weeks or even months.
Then, low and behold, we enter it again! But does the yo-yo exercise routine do more harm to our bodies than we imagine?
This painful feeling after a great workout is that your muscle fibers are torn and rebuilt to become stronger as they are repaired. While this is not a bad thing (in moderation), when you stop exercising for a while, studies show that your once-fit muscles need a little more time to get back into the routine.
Bill Sukala, an exercise physiologist with a PhD in exercise science, says he ignores the tired saying “no pain, no gain”.
“While a demanding workout is clearly good, even a relatively mild amount of exercise can improve your health and reduce your risk of injury and disease,” he says. “Despite the antiquity of this antiquated rat battle cry in the gym, it is actually a free ticket to ride the exercise train.”
So how do you break the cycle?
Schedule rest days from the start
Instead of trying to do all-in-one exercise every day when you’re just getting back in shape, choose moderate exercise two or three days a week and keep in mind to have two days off in between.
Injury is a very common reason that willing practitioners fall off the wagon. This is partly because your body is at increased risk of injury when you are just starting a fitness routine. Rest gives your muscles a chance to regroup.
Give your stamina time to come back
Do not worry if you feel a little more tired outside the gate. When you exercise regularly, your cardiovascular system can function as a well-oiled machine for transporting oxygen to your muscles. Unfortunately, when you are in the quiet phase of a yo-yo exercise, you will probably miss some of the aerobic progress you have made, giving you this feeling of shortness of breath a little faster than normal.
Maybe you really made turns on five-mile routes but haven’t gotten to the trails in a long time? Do not be afraid to start slowly and let your body get to where you were. Even if your legs feel ready to go the distance or you can technically do these heavy bench presses, be careful to start slowly and gradually increase the goal, exercise time, repetitions and mileage.
Let it be a bodily meditation
Regular exercise boosts the health of your brain – and when you stop, you may notice a lack of endorphin-driven energy that you feel regularly. Dr. Soukala suggests using exercise as a form of physical meditation to clear your mind as you return to habit.
“Exercise is known to reduce stress and improve brain function, all of which can lead to mental clarity and help you make better life decisions,” he says. He recommends going out for a long ride or riding a stationary bike with a pen and paper in hand. Then write down and process the things that weigh on your mind as you take those endorphins again.
Choose your workouts strategically
Choose activities that you find fun and enjoyable. You are more likely to follow a workout routine that you really enjoy. Maybe this is participating in a joint kickball tournament or starting a new hobby such as skating. Do not worry too much about the details of the parts of your body that you are strengthening – just get in the habit of moving regularly.
Set SMART goals
While you can undoubtedly go back to your maximum fitness program and follow it, sometimes breaking the yo-yo cycle can be a challenge. Dr. Sukala says the key to stopping this is to acquire “SMART”, an acronym he uses to set goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-oriented.
“Amusement park riders often set vague goals, which puts them in inevitable failure,” he says. “It’s like having an exercise compass, but there is no needle to guide you.”
Instead, divert your thinking to good things in life, such as enrolling in a fun-filled 10,000-dollar trip with friends or committing to spending at least half an hour in the sun three days a week this summer doing an activity you enjoy. Once you make it a habit, it will become second nature.
Oh Hello! You look like someone who loves free workouts, discounts on modern wellness brands and exclusive Well + Good content. Subscribe to Well +our online wellness community and unlock your rewards right away.