If you haven’t exercised in months, you are going to have to ease your way into exercising. The first few weeks of an introductory workout routine should not be intense; during the beginning phase you should not go hard. If you don’t prepare your body properly for exercise then you will be setting yourself up for injury. You have to get into shape to exercise.
An injury will prevent you from exercising. In order to get the full effects of exercising, you have to do it on a consistent basis. It is hard to be consistent with exercise if you get injured every few months. Repeated injuries can be enough to permanently sideline you from exercise.
Even though it may seem like it was just last week, or last month, when you last exercised, if it has been over 2 months since you last exercised consistently, then you have to start at the beginning. Consistently means at least 2 times a week for the last 2 months.
When you take an extended period of time off from exercising (over a month), you will become deconditioned and lose strength. You will lose it much quicker than you will gain it. It is important to take time off from exercise, and take time to rest and recover. You just don’t want to take too much time off, like over a month, from exercising.
The true benefits from exercise will only come if done consistently. It can take months to years of consistent exercise to reverse years of abuse and damage to our bodies. Every time you exercise and eat right and take a vitamin, you slow down the aging process by just a little bit. Every positive thing you do for your body helps to slow down your body’s deterioration and aging just a little bit. Many little bits build up over time to create a big difference- ONLY IF DONE CONSISTENTLY.
Eating right consistently and taking a good multi-vitamin consistently will slow down the aging process by keeping the body supplied with anti-oxidants. Anti-oxidants are positively charged particles that break down free radicals.
Free radicals are negatively charged particles that attach themselves to molecules and cells throughout the body. Once attached they disrupt processes, thus causing inflammation and irritation. This inflammation builds up over time, along with the micro-traumas that the free radicals cause to the cells they attach to, and they cause the body to slowly breakdown over time. They consistently cause microscopic tears in the body that builds up over time causing the body to break down quicker than what it would otherwise.
Eating right and exercising go hand in hand. They enhance each other. Eating right will help you to recover quicker from your workouts and have less pain overall. Eating right will give you more energy. That extra energy, along with the extra energy you’ll get from exercising, will have you feeling better. The less free radicals in your body, the less pain overall you will experience. The stronger and more stabile your joints are, the more activity and the less pain you will get from those joints.
So when you want to get into exercise, it is important to figure out where to start. How long is too long for the first aerobic, or cardio-vascular workout? If you go too long you can hurt yourself. If your workout is too short, will it benefit you?
I prefer to air on the side of caution with exercising. If you haven’t exercised in a consistently in over 2 months, then you will be surprised how sore you will get from a little bit of exercise. Go too easy at first. This will prevent injuries. It is much easier to prevent an injury than it is to get rid of one. That is why you have to stretch as well. You need to stretch from the beginning.
Stretching prevents injuries. When you stretch is just as important as what you stretch. Do Not stretch before exercise. Warm up before exercising, do not stretch though. Stretch after exercising. This will loosen up tightened muscles. It will get blood flowing into the muscles to wash away some of the inflammation that will accumulate in the muscles when exercising.
If you want to enhance your recovery even further after exercising, then take a cold shower after stretching, and after exercising. You can even start the shower on hot and finish it for the last few minutes on cold. But make sure that the cold water runs all over your body. This will cause the capallaries in the skin to reflexively constrict. When you get out of the shower afterwards, they will open up and allow in fresh blood to wash away even more inflammation, and bring nutrients and wash away waste, from the muscles.
Now let’s talk about an appropriate exercise routine for someone who is deconditioned and hasn’t exercised in years. As I said before, you have to ease your way into exercise, otherwise you will injure yourself. With that in mind, plan on taking the first 4 weeks to get into shape to exercise.
For the first 2 weeks, walk (or do some other low impact, aerobic exercise) 3 times a week for 20 minutes. Do not go hard. During this first 2 weeks you should start working in stretching into your routine. Plan on aerobic activity for 20 minutes followed by stretching to aid in cooling down.
For weeks 3 and 4, increase the cardio, or aerobic exercise to 25 or 30 minutes per workout, depending on how comfortable you are with the workout. If walking for 20 minutes is easy and you barely feel it, then bump it up to 30 minutes in weeks 3 and 4. But if you are struggling to finish the 20 minutes, you are breathing heavily and are fatigued afterwards, then p it up do one of two things. Either stick with the 20 limit until you can do the full 20 minutes without feeling like you are going to die. Or just bump it up to 25 if you are not quite dying from the workout, but 30 minutes is still too much.
Everybody is different, listen to your body. Just because an exercise program says to do something, if you feel like that exercise will be do damage to you, or will hurt, or it’s too intense, DO NOT DO IT. Listen to your body and listen to your instincts. You know your body better than anyone else does, listen to it. Your body will not steer you wrong.
During weeks 3 and 4, if you are feeling good with the workouts, you can add in some light core strengthening. I recommend a regular, no frills crunch, and the birddog. Strength training is all about balance. If you do something for your stomach, then you have to do something for your low back as well. Otherwise the abdominal muscles will get too strong and overpower the low back muscles and cause back pain and injury.
You can find descriptions and demonstrations of a crunch and a birddog, and an whole body beginners stretching routine on Pain-freelifestyle.com.
After completing the first 4 weeks of the workout program and stretching routine, you will be primed to being light weight lifting. I’m not talking about spending an hour a day, 5 days a week in the gym. If you know what you are doing, and know the right exercises to do, you can easily get in a very good weight lifting workout at home within 30 minutes, and with very little exercise equipment.
In the Pain-freelifestyle program I have done all of the thinking and put together the exercises that are easy on your body, and the exercises that will prevent most common injuries. For over 13 years I have been studying muscle patterns in my office on a personal level. I have been able to observe which muscles get commonly injured and which muscles, if kept strong, will prevent most common injuries. By consistently doing the exercises I recommend, you will be able to get into shape and increase stability, balance and activity levels and decrease pain, inflammation and injury.
The exercises and stretches that I have chosen are easy on the body, and easy to do long term and consistently.
Easing your way into exercising and eating right so that you can maintain those routines over the years is the only way to get into shape and feel better. It is, the Pain Free Way.