Looking for a way to add structure, routine and release to your recovery? Hit the gym! But not too hard. Starting slow and building an exercise routine that works for can really help as you make the long climb toward recovery. Unfortunately, the research is showing a lack of interest in working out: Despite the health benefits of regular physical activity and the consequences of an inactive lifestyle:
- According to US 2016 National Health Interview Survey, 78% of adults are NOT meeting the guidelines for both aerobic and strength training.
- U.S. adolescents and adults spend almost eight hours a day in inactive behaviors.
- Approximately 36 percent of adults engage in NO physical activity at all.
Regular exercise can help you control your weight, reduce your risk of heart disease, and strengthen your bones and muscles. But if it’s been awhile since you’ve exercised and you have health issues or concerns, it’s a good idea to talk to your doctor before starting a new exercise routine.
If you haven’t exercised regularly in a while, you should see your doctor before you gradually increase your activity. You may also check with your doctor if you have symptoms related to heart, lung or other serious disease such as:
- Pain or discomfort in your chest, neck, jaw or arms at rest or during physical activity
- Dizziness, lightheadedness, or fainting with exercise or exertion
- Shortness of breath with mild exertion, at rest, or when lying down or going to bed
- Ankle swelling, especially at night
- A rapid or pronounced heartbeat
- A heart murmur that your doctor has previously diagnosed
- Lower leg pain when you walk, which goes away with rest
- You don’t normally exercise
- You have any symptoms of heart disease, kidney disease, or type 1 or 2 diabetes
- When in doubt, check it out
Obviously, if you are in recovery, take it easy to begin with. The rewards will be worth it. Consider 5 steps:
5 Steps to Get You Started
- Assess your fitness level: Prior to beginning your fitness journey, record:
- Design your fitness program
- Assemble your equipment
- Start slowly and build up gradually
- Monitor your progress
5 Steps BEFORE Working Out
- Get good quality sleep.
- Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.
- Grab a snack.
- Make sure you’re wearing the right clothes and footwear for the workout you’re doing.
- Work in a warm-up: A warm-up helps decrease your chance of injury.
If you’re unsure of your health status, check with your doctor before starting a new exercise program. You may want to check out a helpful tool called the Physical Activity Readiness Questionnaire (PAR-Q). It was developed by the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology to help people decide whether to talk to a doctor before embarking on or ramping up any exercise program.