Categorized | Fitness

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Getting Back to Fitness After a Long Break

It’s a hard realisation, but no matter what your fitness level is if you stop, you drop! All those hours spent in the gym and out running will be lost if you have a long layoff – either through injury or holiday and it could take a while to get that level of fitness back again.

The good part, though, is muscle memory. If you have achieved a certain level of fitness in the past, your body will retain some of that “fitness history” and this will help you get back to your former condition if you put your mind to it. I think the hardest element for all is realising that you cannot immediately go out and exercise at you pre-rest period intensity.

A good way to rapidly advance the process of getting back to full fitness is to find a hill that will take you 3 minutes to jog up. Now, this may seem a bit of a repetitive routine but it will get you back on track and push you hard. Jog up the hill at a slightly higher than comfortable pace and then walk back down and jog straight back up again. If there is a path that comes back down and around to the start point it will make the run more interesting and less tedious but the principle is the same.

As you get used to the hill run and circuit of running up and walking down, you can start to jog back down and increase the running speed uphill.

Strength training carries much the same principles and you will not be able to lift the same weights as before your rest period so don’t try or you may injure yourself. Start lighter and build up. Perform a full body circuit on the resistance machines, 1 set per body part, as this will give your muscles time to rest before the second set whilst still working a different muscle group. I like to perform opposite sets and perform a circuit following a routine of chest, back, leg extension, leg curl, shoulders, leg press/squat, bicep curl, triceps extension and calf raises. (depending on machines available). If you can perform this circuit 2 – 3 times over without resting in between sets, you will find that not only will you work all muscle groups, but you will also increase cardio vascular fitness. (this is not a daily routine as your body will need time to rest and should be performed no more than 3 times in a week. Remember your warm up, cool down and stretch routines).

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