It’s not something most people are proud of, but it happens.
You start off with a strong commitment to regular exercise and better health and then, for whatever reason, you fall off the wagon for a while, and perhaps even for an extended period.

When you get back to the place where you want to start exercising again, it may be tempting, or even reflexive to think you can pick up right where you left off. However, doing that is almost certain to be a recipe for disaster, because the longer you’ve been out of the habit, the more your muscles have atrophied, and the more “muscle memory” you’ve lost.

Fortunately, it’s not hard to get back into the swing of things, but following the tips below will help minimize your chances of injuring yourself as you get back up to speed:

1) Start Slow – This is the single best thing you can do for yourself if it’s been a while since you’ve worked up a good sweat using your exercise routine. Depending on how long it’s been, don’t be surprised if you can’t finish the routine you used to use on a regular basis. You’ll find your groove again and be back in top form in no time, but to get to that point, you’ll want to take slow, measured steps. Remember, you’re looking for progress, not perfection.

2) Be Patient – This builds on the first point, and is every bit as important. If you’re in too big a hurry to get back to where you were, you’re going to pull or strain something. Rather than helping yourself, all you’ll accomplish will be to slow, or even stall your progress as you recover from what is a totally preventable and avoidable injury. Don’t be in such a rush to see results that you wind up setting yourself back!

3) Reprogram Your Brain – Finally, in order to minimize your chances of falling off the wagon in the future, reprogram your brain and learn to love your exercise routine. One of the best ways to do this is to give yourself some small but well-liked treat after you exercise. It takes three weeks for a new behavior to become habit, so if you start now, then you’re just 21 days away from victory!