As you might know, I love running and usually I run about 8-10km on 3-4 days every week. From October to December last year, I had a 3-month break from running because of knee pain that I always got after running. I went to the doctor but the reason for this pain couldn’t be found so that I just decided to take a break from running to try and cure my knee. Just as a little side note.. that’s not what this post is about.
What I want to tell you with this blogpost is to get back into your usual exercise routine after a break as soon as possible, no matter what workout you used to do.
The reason why you should get back as soon as possible is the “memory effect” of your muscles. With any kind of physical exercise, you train certain muscles in your body and if you have been doing this for quite a while and then stop working out for some reason, the strenght in your muscles doesn’t just vanish right away. When you get back to working out, your muscles remember the movements which makes it easier to get back into your old state of fitness. Well, actually it’s not a memory of the muscles but a memory in the brain of a certain muscle movement. Ever wondered why some well-trained models get back into their old shape so quickly after pregnancy for example? Well, that’s why.
It doesn’t even matter if you don’t exercise for years; your body will remember. However, from experience I can say that the quicker you get back into your old exercise routine, the less fitness you lose. My 3-month break felt quite long to me personally but in fact, it wasn’t that long. After 2 shorter runs in 1 week, I was back to my usual 9-10km with the third one. I felt my legs after these runs because my muscles got sore which usually doesn’t happen for me anymore as I’m so used to running that much but other than that, it wasn’t hard to get back into running at all. My legs and lungs were still used to it.
For me it was easy to start running again after my break because I absolutely love running and it was harder for me to keep myself from running than to start running again. However, I know that a lot of people struggle with getting back into their exercise routine after a break..
Depending on why you’re taking a break, I would recommend to look if it’s possible to do a “lighter” form of your usual exercise instead, I went for long walks during my break from running for example. It’s not the same but I still used my legs and I didn’t get out of my habit to leave the house and be active outside.
Do not expect to be back to your old shape and fitness in no time. Yes, for me it happened to be like that but depending on the lenght of your break, the reason for your break – maybe you even were injured – and the workout itself, it can take a while. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself, this will only demotivate you. Focus on how far you’ve already come again instead of how fit you’ve been in the past. And even if it takes months to get back to your old state of fitness, if you don’t start working out again at all, you’ll never get back there again.
Remember how good you’ve always felt after working out – how you’ve enjoyed feeling fit and strong, feeling relieved from stress and overall more in balance.
As I said, I personally couldn’t wait to get back into running as I’ve missed it so much but I also got new running shoes which made me even more excited about it. Maybe you can get yourself some new fitness clothes or workout equipment to increase your motivation.
I’d also recommend to set a firm date – and stick to it, of course – to not delay your “comeback” again and again. For me this firm date was Christmas for example as I knew that I’d have some days off from work at that time to really be able to focus on myself and on getting back into running without something to distract me.
If you really have no motivation to get back into exercising, you struggle a lot and don’t enjoy it at all – have you ever wondered if that kind of workout really makes you happy? I believe we shouldn’t force ourselves to being active. As soon as we find the right kind of physical activity, working out becomes fun and enjoyable and doesn’t feel like a pain in the ass.