Get Back in the Swing of Things: 10 Tips to Use to Re-engage with Physical Activities

woman walking outdoors for exercise

Professional Physical Therapy Can Help You Reach Your Spring Fitness Goals

Lawns and trees go dormant during the winter, which means they enter a state of extended inactivity. Unfortunately, this is also the case for a significant portion of the population.

Individuals still go about their day-to-day tasks, but the brisk chill of winter puts a freeze on those ambitious New Year’s fitness resolutions. With the worst of winter safely behind us, now is the perfect time to spring out of the slump.

Getting back into the swing of physical activity after an extended sedentary period can feel daunting at first. However, the transition back to an active lifestyle will be smooth and enjoyable with the right approach. Discover some of the best tips for reengaging in physical activity and setting yourself up for long-term success. Plus, we’ll provide some useful information on how professional physical therapy can play an essential role in improving mobility and muscle tissue health.

Set Realistic Goals

Before lacing up your sneakers, it’s important to set achievable goals. Unrealistic expectations can quickly lead to disappointment and burnout.

Start by setting small, manageable goals that will provide a sense of accomplishment and motivate you to continue. Once you reach those, set a new, realistic goal.

Pick an Enjoyable Activity

You’re more likely to stick with a physical routine if you enjoy the activity. Whether it’s dancing, hiking, cycling, basketball, or yoga, choose something that you look forward to doing.

If you’re not sure what you like, don’t be afraid to experiment with different activities until you find one that feels right. “Variety is the spice of life,” as the saying goes.

Start Off Slowly

Easing back into physical activity prevents injury and excessive soreness. Begin with low-intensity workouts and gradually increase the degree of difficulty as your strength and endurance improve.

For example, you can start by briskly walking 20 minutes per day for the first week, then increase it to 30 minutes per day the following week. This approach allows your body to adapt and helps build a solid fitness foundation.

If you notice that you’re experiencing chronic pain or mobility issues, professional physical therapy and rehabilitation are beneficial in restoring muscle and joint health, especially for those who have been inactive for an extended period.

Make Time for Physical Activity In Your Schedule

“I don’t have time” is one of the most common avoidance tactics. Block out time on your calendar for exercise just as you would for any other important appointment.

Consistency is key, and making exercise a non-negotiable part of your day can help solidify the habit. Find a way to turn your physical activity into an opportunity to multi-task. For example, you could walk to the grocery store and back to shop rather than driving; now you’ve successfully added exercise into your busy day.

Preemptively Overcome Motivational Barriers

Anticipate what might prevent you from exercising and plan around it. If you struggle with afternoon workouts, prepare your workout clothes for first thing in the morning when you wake up. If mornings don’t work, consider a long midday walk during your lunch break. By identifying potential barriers and creating strategies to overcome them, you’re more likely to remain committed.

You should also consider external motivators. For example, group fitness classes, personal trainers, and professional physical therapy are excellent sources of external motivation and can help you stay on track.

Listen to Your Body

Pay attention to your body’s signals and give yourself permission to rest when needed. Pushing through pain or extreme fatigue can lead to setbacks and even injury. Remember, rest and recovery are as important as the exercise itself when building strength and endurance. If you’re reengaging in physical activity after overcoming an injury, physical therapy can help facilitate the process.

Find a Workout Buddy

Exercising with a friend can increase your commitment and make physical activity more fun. A workout partner provides encouragement and can help you stay accountable to your fitness goals. Plus, it’s always nice to share the journey with someone else.

Stay Hydrated and Eat a Balanced Diet

Fueling your body with the right nutrients and staying hydrated are essential for an active lifestyle. Drink plenty of water before, during, and after physical activity, and eat a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains to support your fitness journey.

On a related note, avoid celebrating your wins with treats and sugary incentives. Jogging or hiking five miles is a huge accomplishment. Find a way to celebrate it without food indulgences to help build healthier habits.

Track Your Progress

Every time you work out, something positive happens. You burn calories. You rack up mileage on the treadmill. You may weigh a little bit less than you did the previous week or feel stronger than before. Whatever the case may be, these metrics paint the portrait of a positive lifestyle change.

Keeping a record of your workouts and progress can serve as a powerful motivator. Use a journal, app, Excel spreadsheet, or online tracker to log your activities, how you felt during and after the workout, and any improvements you’re seeing. Reflecting on how far you’ve come can be incredibly inspiring on days when motivation wanes.

Be Patient and Kind to Yourself

Lastly, be patient with your progress and kind to yourself along the way. You’re not an Olympic athlete in training. You’re just trying to be the best version of yourself. Fitness is a personal journey with ups and downs. Celebrate the small victories, learn from the challenges, and remember that any movement is better than no movement.

How to Find Professional Physical Therapy Near You

By following these tips, you’ll set the stage for a successful and enjoyable return to physical activity. Remember that the goal is to create a sustainable, healthy lifestyle, not to rush the process. With patience, consistency, and a positive attitude, you’ll be on your way to achieving your fitness goals.

However, you can’t engage in physical activity if you’re constantly challenged by pain and mobility issues, as these are signs of more serious problems. If you’re suffering from chronic pain or joint issues, you may benefit from professional physical therapy and rehabilitation, which uses prescribed exercises that restore joint function and build strength.

Start by contacting a physical therapist near you who specializes in helping patients overcome orthopedic issues. After the initial consultation and exam, they will develop a treatment plan that holistically provides pain relief and joint mobility, allowing you to tackle your fitness goals and re-engage in physical activity.