Girl exercising outdoors in autumn
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How to get back into exercise after the Summer holidays

By the time the end of September comes around, with its shorter days and autumnal weather, we will have well and truly settled back into a work or school routine. Our summer fun becoming a fading memory and stress levels slowly rising again.

But we all love to reminisce on a lovely summer holiday, don’t we? The children having tons of laughs and us mums and dads just kicking back and enjoying the benefits of an all-inclusive break. Rest and relaxation are the order of the day.

So, what happened to our health and fitness regime? God forbid the thought, which most likely drowned, whilst sitting by the pool sipping on that third Pina Colada.

Let’s face it who really exercises on their holiday anyway? Erm, well, maybe, your personal trainer does, but let’s move on to you.

Autumn time is the best time to dig out and dust off your workout gear and get back on track with some much-needed self-care. This season is undoubtedly all about the kids. With half-term holidays, Halloween, Fireworks Night and dare I say it…Christmas, fast approaching, there is almost an urgency to think about yourself and claiming back that ‘me time’.

Don’t know where to start? Let me give you some tips on how you can get back onto the exercise bandwagon, even if you have got little ones hanging round your ankles.

  1. First and foremost, I guess those of you with young children might need a babysitter. Grandparents would normally be your first port of call but for one reason or another, it might not always be possible to enlist them. Mums and dads with young children will have lots of friends in the same boat, so how about doing babysitting swaps and that way you can both work out. It’s a win-win for everyone. 
  2. Schedule in your first workout. Don’t ask why, just do it. Right now. Where there is a will there really is a way so grab your diary and block out at least one hour per week if this is all you can manage at first. Consider two half hour slots instead if this makes it easier. 
  3. So now you have allotted time and that’s great. Next, think about what you enjoyed doing before and ask yourself why you enjoyed it? It’s a well-known fact that getting back into a routine is difficult initially, both physically and mentally. This has a lot to do with your self-talk. Make a commitment. If you need to book yourself into a group class, then do it before you change your mind. 
  4. On the evening before your first workout have your clothes and trainers ready so that when you get up you will have no choice but to dress in that outfit. You are more likely to stick to the plan if you are appropriately dressed and I can almost guarantee that you that you’ll feel the endorphins the instant you don the Lycra. 
  5. Working out in the morning is best. There is no real hard evidence and there are conflicting studies, but most would agree that if you exercise in the morning you’re revving up your metabolism early and you will continue to burn calories throughout the day. Another good reason is that you won’t feel like your workout is going to disrupt your schedule. From my experience as a personal trainer, the client most likely to cancel is the one whose training is scheduled either in the afternoon or evening. 
  6. Making yourself accountable to others will mean that you’re more likely to be consistent with your routine. Make the commitment by telling others, in particular family and friends, and then talk about your progress frequently. Support and encouragement from others close to you can be extremely helpful especially if you’re ever feeling less motivated. 
  7. Now that you’re in the swing of things it’s time to get serious and set some SMART goals – specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely. This is a really important step as it’s going to get you from A to B. Goals give you a sense of purpose and keep you focused; without a goal you will more than likely get distracted and even worse just give up your hard work. Start with small goals if necessary and ensure you monitor and record your progress. 
  8. You are doing just great and should be proud of how far you’ve already come. Ok, so you might not have formed a routine just yet, but you should already be in a good place and are hopefully well on your way to forming a long-term sustainable habit. By now I’m guessing that exercising has become a little more enjoyable and less of a tedious chore. Your self-belief and self-motivation should have increased considerably so don’t falter; continue crushing your demons by making effective daily affirmations. Write these onto sticky post it notes, place them strategically around the house and say them out loud for maximum effect. 
  9. This is going to sound completely ridiculous and wacky but wearing your keep fit clothes whenever possible, keeping your work out mat visibly handy and leaving your Fitbit or Garmin by your bedside are all easy-peasy things you can do to keep your mind on the matter. It will be like wearing a uniform or a different hat with the idea of stepping into a role. The props and equipment will also act as triggers or reminders. Trust me, this approach works. 
  10. Everyone has a ‘to do list’ either in their mind or on paper. Keep your workouts at the top of your list and make them a priority. Life will continue to throw curve balls at you and if you’re a tired, sleep deprived parent, life can be especially taxing. Even when the going gets tough, being healthy and remaining active can be your saviour. Persistency and consistency are key.
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