After taking a long hiatus from working out, for an injury, illness or pregnancy, many of my patients feel discouraged that they will never “get their groove back” and return to their previous fitness level. This can create a downward spiral because you don’t feel motivated to get back to the gym, walk or start increasing your activity levels. However, sitting on the couch because you’re depressed furthers the atrophy of your muscles and cardiovascular system, putting you one step further from your goal. After all, you can’t do the same exercises or run as far as you used to, so what’s the point of working out anyway?
To break yourself of the cycle of fitness self-pity, start by defining your end goal (running a half marathon, being able to bike for 45 minutes, walking the length of the mall). After you decide what that goal is, determine smaller steps that will help you achieve it. For instance, you want to bike for 45 minutes and you haven’t been on your bike for a year, you might want to start with cycling for 15 minutes your first day, followed by stretching and using your foam roller to loosen up muscles that have been a bit dormant. Once you feel comfortable doing the 15 minutes, start lengthening your cycling by 5-10 minutes, as you feel able to gradually increase your fitness level. The key is slow, steady progress. Not going Olympic the first day and retiring from the activity because you’re so sore or injured from going too far, too fast.
It’s okay to have some mild muscle soreness after starting (or restarting) a new physical activity. What’s not okay is pain or soreness that doesn’t go away with stretching, icing and rest within 2 weeks. If you keep having discomfort and can’t seem to stretch it away, give our office a call and we’ll be glad to help you troubleshoot what’s holding you back from meeting your goals.
Dr. Erin Ducat is a mother of a 10 month old son and is in the process of getting her groove back too! If you need help with pain from working out or if pain is keeping you from becoming active, find out more about her Bloomingdale chiropractic practice by going to www.ducatchiropractic.com
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