GUILT FREE ZONE: Getting Back into Exercise after a Break

All of us let our healthy routines lapse sometimes, whether due to an injury, a major life event, or a bout of depression. Sometimes work and family get in the way. We all need a way to hit the reset button and get back on track with our healthy routines. We usually think of doing this in January as a New Year’s resolution, but really any time can serve as an occasion to start again with healthy living. These suggestions will help you to get off the couch and back into a program of regular exercise. Enjoy these suggestions, and, above all, have fun with it! Healthy living is all about feeling more alive and alert.


Feeling More Alive and Alert- Let That Sink In


Don’t Beat Yourself Up.

First we have to recognize that guilt is a completely useless emotional response to an unsatisfactory situation. Negative internal chatter, along the lines of, “I’m so lazy. I can’t do anything right,” etc. is counterproductive in the search for a more healthy lifestyle. We have to begin with setting aside the past, including forgiveness for the decisions we may have made in the previous months or years.

We face each day anew, recognizing that we always have the chance to make a fresh start. We have to let go of self-castigation, self-blame, and self-hatred in order to make a new beginning. Sometimes we can do this through meditation and positive thinking, but sometimes medication and therapy may be needed.


Schedule it.

We schedule meetings at work and doctor and dentist appointments, but sometimes we neglect to make appointments with ourselves for physical exercise. It helps to have a plan of at least three months in duration to get our healthy routines jump-started. It helps to have a goal on which to focus. Maybe you would like to run a 5k or complete your first triathlon.


If you have been out of shape for a long time, you might simply want to focus on being able to walk a mile or more. Make your goal challenging but realistic, and make sure to have smaller goals along the way. For example, if you want to run a marathon, start with a 10k, then a half marathon, and then build from there. These days, there are many training guides available in print or on the web. A virtual or real-life coach may also be beneficial.


Lunch Break = Exercise Break

Think of your lunch break not just as a time to eat but also as a time to get a little bit of exercise. Even if you only have half an hour, eat for ten minutes and walk for twenty minutes. If you can afford to take a longer lunch break, go ahead and go to the gym. If you can get some exercise done at lunch, you will find it much easier to reach your health goals.

The problem of procrastination is overcome more easily when the day is only half done and you already have some steps under your belt. Using a FitBit or similar device will help you keep track of your level of physical activity. Nothing is less healthy than sitting at a desk all day without a break.


Our Bodies and Minds Are Inextricably Linked


Give Yourself Permission.

Try to stop thinking of exercise as something that you have to do and start thinking of it more as something that you get to do. Think of exercise as a right, just like you give yourself permission to eat, drink, and sleep. Exercise is a normal and natural part of everyday life. You may have co-workers or family members who do not exercise, but you don’t have to conform yourself to their behavior. You have the power to shape the culture in your household or workplace. By healing yourself, you make it possible for others to be well. The way that you conduct yourself will have a positive influence on those around you. As you begin to take your health and wellbeing more seriously, you have a positive impact on society. You make possible the creation of an overall culture of wellness in your family, in your workplace, and in your community.


Wellness is Productivity

By far one of the biggest fears that people have when beginning an exercise routine is that they will be less productive on the job or at home. I have found it to be the case that quite the opposite is true. Doing physical exercise gives you more energy, makes your thinking more clear, and give a boost to your creative capacity. Sometimes the best way to solve problems and generate new ideas is to go for a walk or a swim. Exercise frees the mind from its habitual patterns and makes new connections possible.

It simply make sense that a healthy mind and body will be more able to solve problems than an unhealthy, sedentary mind and body. Mental and physical fitness go together, and wellness is productivity.


Don’t delay! Today is just as good a day as any to get back into the routine of physical exercise and healthy living. Think about how energized you will feel knowing that you are doing what you need to do to take care of your mind and body. Think of all the good things that will come to you when you take good care of yourself.


Our bodies and minds are inextricably linked, and, when we take care of both, we experience greater peace, prosperity, and fulfillment in life.



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