After many years out of the forces, it can prove a challenge to get back into shape without a strict fitness regime to follow. It can be extremely intimidating to push yourself to endure physical activity after taking so much time out, so you may need some advice on how to make the process as easy and enjoyable as possible.
This guide will give you some vital information on improving your health and fitness if you’re feeling out of shape and what to make a note of. Take a look at the pointers below to set you off on the right foot:
- Get into the right mindset
Regardless of the task in hand, mindset is everything. It helps to achieve a positive mood and develops your self-esteem to take on challenges that may initially seem daunting. A healthy thought process will also boost your motivation when all you want to do is give up.
When it comes to exercising, having an emotional connection to your goal will make you much more resilient to challenges and force you to keep going, even when it gets tough. Think about why you want to get fit and keep this thought in mind every time you work out.
- Start with flexibility workouts
Before jumping back into heavy workouts, it would be wise to spend a couple of days improving your flexibility. This will help increase blood flow around the body while increasing your motion and joint suppleness. Flexibility is often an overlooked aspect before working out; however, your body must adjust to the demands that it has grown less used to overtime.
If you have a membership to a gym or health club, it would be a good idea to join a yoga or pilates class to stretch the muscles and strengthen the joints, which will improve your overall flexibility.
- Stretch training
After joining a beginner yoga class, you will have gained enough flexibility to start stretch training. This type of workout improves muscle mass and makes you less susceptible to strains and injuries when carrying out everyday tasks. Taking too much time out from fitness means your body is used to resting, rather than working hard; therefore, your muscles may have weakened drastically.
There are many ways to incorporate stretch training into your workout regime; however, the most common exercises include:
- Hamstring curls
- Have a good workout playlist
Never underestimate the importance of a good workout playlist to help you push through the challenges of your early fitness journey. If you have been out of the game for some time, getting motivated isn’t easy, and you may need that extra kick – enter the power of music.
Research has proven that choosing an upbeat playlist doesn’t simply counteract boredom, it also improves the quality of your workout by boosting stamina and making you feel more positive.
Music that is coordinated to the movements of your workout is shown to have encouraging mental and physical effects. If you have never tried incorporating music into your workout regime before and are unsure about which tracks would suit you, Myprotein has a useful list of the best workout songs from different genre playlists to browse through.
- Get enough sleep to recover
There are many opinions on how much sleep you should be getting each night, but research suggests that 7-9 hours per evening is adequate. Being sleep-deprived can make you feel groggy and unmotivated the following day, which is not ideal when you have a full workout plan to stick to.
Sleep helps you recuperate and recharge your batteries at the end of a long day and ensures that your hormones have chance to rebalance. Hormones such as HGH (Human Growth Hormone) are responsible for burning fat which may be of interest to you if your focus is to lose weight.
- Add supplements to your diet
A balanced diet goes hand-in-hand with exercise to improve fitness levels. A healthy body and mind are interlinked with the foods you eat, but there’s no reason why you can’t give your body that extra push it needs by incorporating supplements into your diet.
Here are five crucial supplements which are ideal for taking when starting a new fitness journey:
- Fish oil
- Vitamin D
- Protein powder
- Don’t compare yourself to when you were at your fittest
One of the biggest mistakes you can make when trying to get fit again is comparing yourself to when you were at your fittest. This is most likely when you were in the forces some years ago,
If you’re keen on getting back into a strict fitness plan after suffering an injury or illness, you should take extra care and start slowly to see what you can realistically manage. Choose a workout regime that you’re used to and simply reduce the intensity if that works better for you.
Review your workouts every month or so and if you happen to be struggling, make a few adjustments. If you’re sailing through the workout with no issues, you’ll know you are capable of setting yourself more significant challenges.
Try not to get frustrated if you can’t do what you used to – it’s all about adapting your workout plan to suit your current strengths, rather than your weaknesses. A negative mindset can damage your confidence and progress, so don’t allow yourself to fall into this trap.
- Try something new
Even for people who consider exercise as a hobby, any routine can become stale. Trying something new and challenging yourself may be the best way to revive your love of fitness and make it an activity you’ll look forward to, rather than dread.
If you’re not sure which type of workout is best for you, don’t be afraid to try different equipment. Do make sure that safety is your highest priority and if you’re unsure as to what your body can cope with, it would be recommended to speak to your doctor first.