When it comes to working out, it’s important to have a routine. It keeps you disciplined and motivated. It helps you track your progress over time. And it means you can fit your workout into your schedule.
But once in a while, a major life event occurs and blows you completely off-course.
If your workout routine once ran like clockwork, even a short break can make you feel like you’ll never return to your healthy habits.
But don’t get discouraged. With a little patience, you can revive your dormant fitness regime.
Working Out After Having a New Baby
It’s a boy/girl! Congratulations — time to hit the gym.
With your new bundle of joy keeping you up all night, working out might be the last thing you want to do.
But maintaining regular exercise won’t add to your exhaustion. In fact, it’ll give you more energy
Tips For New Moms
For moms, working out post-childbirth has two main benefits. It helps your body recover. And it may even prevent postnatal depression.
Childbirth places huge stress on your body. Your back and core will be weaker, and your muscles and ligaments will be supple. This leaves you at higher risk of injury.
Start with some gentle, low impact exercises as soon as you feel up to it. These can include:
After about six weeks you consider some higher-impact exercises, such as:
Look for opportunities to work out. Pushing the stroller, playing in the park — anywhere can be a gym.
Tips For New Dads
As a new dad, your body hasn’t changed. However, your life has been turned upside-down.
And in fact, you might be surprised to hear that even dads gain baby bulk. Research suggests that new dads gain on average around 17 lbs in their first year — just as much as new moms!
Your new workout routine needs to fit into your new schedule. Long sessions at the gym might be rare at first. Think brief early-morning workouts and high intensity, short bursts of training.
You don’t need to escape your new baby to work out. Buy an adapted stroller or carrier, and take your baby with you for a jog or a brisk walk.
And there are even some strength and conditioning exercises you can do with your new baby.
Parent and Baby Classes
Parent and baby exercise classes have grown popular recently. They’re suitable for either mom or dad.
Check out what’s available near you. You might find:
These classes are a chance to enjoy your new baby’s company, have fun, and meet some fellow new parents.
Working Out After a Major Injury or Illness
There are many different reactions to severe injury or life-changing illness.
You may feel fragile, deflated, and unmotivated. You might dread going back to work. Perhaps you feel sick when you think about working out.
Or, you might feel like you have a new lease on life. Maybe you can’t wait to get back into the real world. You’re frustrated by your limitations.
There are dangers inherent to both responses. You can harm your recovery — whether you throw in the towel and refuse to exercise, or you jump out of bed before your body is ready.
Listen to your body. Listen to your doctor! Just don’t kid yourself that bed rest is the only answer.
Treatment and recovery from some illnesses can be just as brutal as the illness itself. Steroids and radiotherapy can leave you feeling nauseous, weak, and lethargic.
Exercise specialist Carol Michaels provides eight tips to help patients get back to working out after cancer treatment. These principles apply to recovery from practically any devastating illness.
There’s no catch-all approach to recovering from a serious injury. A broken spine and a broken shoulder are both serious. But they require very different approaches to recovery.
The most important thing you can do is to work closely with a doctor or rehabilitation expert.
Let’s take a look at how to recover from a common type of injury — a fracture or break in the foot.
One thing to remember throughout — recovery from injury is not a case of “no pain, no gain.”
Steps To Recovery:
Regaining Range of Motion
The area around your broken or fractured bone will become stiff — particularly if it has been in a cast. Within a few weeks (and with a health professional’s approval), you should be able to begin ankle range-of-motion exercises to bring some life back to this area.
Lie down, lift your leg, and write your name with your big toe five times. Then repeatedly rotate your foot clockwise and counterclockwise.
Keep the range within a pain-free zone. You shouldn’t be feeling any pain when you do this.
Once you’ve regained some range of motion in your foot, you can begin gently stretching.
Again, don’t hurt yourself here. Don’t perform any standing stretches until you have medical clearance to put weight on your foot.
Depending on the severity of your injury, your stretches should be passive at first.
You can perform seated stretches using a skipping rope or towel. Loop it around your foot, and pull very gently until you feel resistance. Repeat the exercise in sets or five or ten.
Depending on the nature of the break or fracture, you might be able to begin strengthening exercises within four weeks.
Strengthening exercises should be very light at first. For example, you can use a skipping rope or towel again. Loop it around your foot as you did when stretching. But instead of gently pulling your foot, you can gently push against the rope with your foot.
You should only return to working out with your physician or physiotherapist’s approval.
Take it easy at first — don’t expect yourself to be back to where you were before your injury straight away.
The older you get, the longer this type of injury will take to heal. Sometimes, you can return to exercise as early as six weeks after a fracture. But it may take a lot longer than this to get back out onto the field.
Working Out After Other Major Life Events
We’ve looked at two common life events with significant physical and mental effects. But any major life events can knock good habits off track.
Let’s look at a few further examples.
Death of a Loved One
Elizabeth Kubler-Ross described five stages of grief in her famous book On Death and Dying:
Kubler-Ross suggests that humans need to pass through all these stages before they can recover from bereavement.
Exercise can be a great way to help you get back to normal life after losing a loved one. But be conscious of where you’re at in the grieving process.
Be intentional in your exercise — do it because it feels good, not out of anger or avoidance.
Major Career Change
A career change can be a reason for celebration. But it can also be a stressful and disorienting experience.
Everyone will tell you to simply make time for exercise. But when your schedule changes, your workout routine needs to adapt too.
Where you once exercised for an hour in the evening, you might now only have twenty minutes in the morning. An intense sprint might replace a long jog.
The important this is that you keep at it. Eventually your new routine will feel more familiar than your old one did.
Beginning of College/University
Going to college can be a totally transformational experience.
Sure, you can join the gym. But what better way to make new friends than by joining a sports team?
Even if you don’t play at competitively, you’re sure to find a group or society you can join. Get involved in non-team sports such as weightlifting, jogging, or cycling.
The Next Step:
Now that you have learned how to keep your regimen on track even when life throws the occasional (and inevitable) curve ball, take a look at how technology can help you stay on course towards optimal health!