Exercising regularly is an important part of retaining a heart-healthy lifestyle. Performing physical activity helps you to live longer and allows your body to run and perform better in the long-term. It’s advised that everyone should be performing 150 minutes of exercise a week to maintain a heart-healthy lifestyle.
Uncertainty is what often faces those who are looking to get back into a regular work out routine though. How and where do you start when you haven’t worked out in months? Or even years? Alternatively, returning to a regular workout routine after a physical injury or a medical condition can be that much harder as you need to compensate for that new ailment.
Although beginning again can be a daunting task, it’s recommended that doing some activity is far better than doing nothing at all, as there is almost no disease that doesn’t benefit from exercise in some way.
Seek out a physician before you begin
Although we encourage you to exercise, we strongly recommend that before you do anything; you contact your physician to see what they recommend. This is recommended if you haven’t exercised in a year or so, or you’re recovering from an injury or health-related ailment. If you have simply taken off some time between seasons, you’re less likely to need to see your doctor.
For those that do see their doctor, they’ll be able to understand your level of recovery and fitness level better than anyone else, and will be able to provide you with a detailed plan to begin exercising again.
Here are some questions that you should ask when you go to meet your doctor:
- How much exercise can I do?
- How often can I exercise?
- What types of exercises should I do?
- What activities should I avoid?
- Should I hire a personal trainer to exercise with me?
After you have met with your doctor, they may recommend that you should go through a rehabilitation program to teach you how to safely become more active.
If you have recently suffered a heart attack or a cardiac arrest you can find a cardiac rehab program in any province at cardiachealth.ca.
General workout tips
- Focus on doing aerobic exercises when you begin working out again, rather than more complex movements like isometric exercises (pushups). Aerobic exercises are easier to perform and will help to make your heart stronger, while isometric could strain your muscles. Popular aerobic exercises include running, walking, and swimming.
- Try to organize your exercises with friends, family, or by joining a group at a local gym. Going with another person (or group), even if you both haven’t been as active, can be a great motivator to keep exercise as a regular part of your routine. Additionally, many workout facilities have personal trainers that can help you to create your own workout program for free, the YMCA is one of note.
- Make sure that you stay hydrated. It is important to drink water even before you feel thirsty, especially on hot days.
- Go at your own pace. For many people returning back to a regular workout routine, it’s normal to feel some self-consciousness. Just make sure to do what feels comfortable to you and to keep progressing.