How to End Your Exercise Hiatus

Guest post by Wellness Peer Campbell Drohan: 

We all know that we should be exercising regularly. We know that it’s good for us, and that it will keep us healthy and strong. However, that knowledge doesn’t necessarily make exercising easy, especially when you’ve fallen off the exercise bandwagon (or if you never even got on it to begin with!).

I found myself on an exercise hiatus near the end of the summer. I was busy studying for a huge exam while working full-time and volunteering off-campus a few evenings a week. I barely had time to feed myself, let alone squeeze in a workout (or at least this is what I told myself…somehow I always had time to watch the latest episode of Dance Moms).

This persisted into the fall, where the madness of school starting up kept me distracted. The longer I went without exercising, the harder it became to get back into it, and I found myself in a vicious circle of inactivity. However, once October hit I decided that enough was enough, and started exercising again. Now, after a few weeks, I feel like I’m finally taking the time to take care of my body, and I’m so happy that I’m making my health a priority. Here are some suggestions I have for you if you’re looking to get back in shape after a break.

Start off slow. During one of my many attempts to get back into exercising regularly, I decided to take on a 40-day yoga challenge. By day three I was so sore I could barely lift my arms, and I ended up needing an entire week for my muscles to recover.  While it can be tempting to start off strong, slow and steady really does win the race. A 20-minute jog around the block is a whole lot better than nothing at all!

Get some new clothes. Sometimes heading to the mall can actually motivate you to head to the gym! Buying a new workout top or water bottle can get you excited to put them to use. When I was working up the motivation to head back to spin class, I went to Lululemon and splurged on a new pair of shorts. I was so excited to wear them that I went to the Birdcoop the very next day!

Find a buddy. Get a friend to join you for your workout! It’s going to be a whole lot easier to make fitness a priority when you know that someone’s holding you accountable. Dropping in at a UBC Recreation fitness class with a friend, heading for a swim at the Aquatic Centre, or playing a pickup game at the UBC Tennis Centre together are a few options.

Do something fun! I was a competitive dancer throughout high school, so the first thing I did to get back into workout out was attending a dance class. Getting off the couch to do something you love is a lot easier than forcing yourself to run on the “dreadmill”.

Remember that just because you’ve neglected your physical health for a while doesn’t mean that you will never be healthy and active again. It’s okay to not be perfect sometimes. Now, what are you waiting for? Get out there and sweat!