After the challenging year that we’ve had, it’s exciting to think about the promise of 2021 – a world where human connection can be face-to-face instead of just through FaceTime. But until we reach a point where COVID-19 cases aren’t dangerously high, we have to stay diligent in managing our expectations as we navigate this new year. As the beginning of the new year tends to bring attention to health and fitness habits, we can all work to manage our expectations on how to begin a new exercise routine in a climate that is still grappling with COVID-19.
If there’s one thing we learned from 2020, it was that nothing in life is ever guaranteed. Take this with you in the new year as you create your fitness routine. Flexibility in your mind is just as important as flexibility in the body, and both are necessary as you work to create your fitness goals. Life may get in the way sometimes but managing your expectations to allow for some changes can help you in the long run. Especially given the day-by-day changes of the COVID-19 pandemic, giving yourself the grace to change your activity, timing, or length of workout can make a huge difference for both your mental and physical health. Maintaining flexibility in your routine helps to release some of the pressure that can later lead to burnout.
Consider Virtual Classes
With the rising of COVID-19 cases, most gyms and fitness centers began expanding their offerings to include virtual classes and sessions. If you know that you’re more interested in yoga or Pilates classes, find local studios that offer those types of virtual classes. Not only will you be helping local businesses during this trying time, but you’ll find it more convenient and fun to reach your fitness goals. This is a great option for those who don’t have the equipment for a home gym and aren’t ready to go back to their normal gym or fitness studio.
Set Aside Time For Your Workout
You know your schedule best, so think about how much time each day or week you can spend working on your exercise and fitness goals. If you don’t have the time available for 30 minutes each day, do you have 15 minutes when you can run, walk, stretch, or work on a short cardio burst? As you’re setting aside the time for your fitness goals, remember that you can work to increase the amount of time or level of exercise during that period, even if it’s just a few added minutes every week. You may change the length and time of your workout, but you may not be able to do this for quite a while - and that is okay! Be flexible but be sure to prioritize your mental and physical health through movement.
Listen To & Take Care of Your Body
Establishing a routine is the easy part – it’s maintaining the routine that can be the most difficult. What happens when you have the time and access to equipment at home, but your body is in pain or you struggle to find the motivation to get moving? Listening to your body to take care of it is the foundation upon which a fitness routine is based. There can be many reasons for starting a fitness routine, but they should be based on taking care of your body to better your mental and physical health. If you are unwilling to listen to your body when it is fatigued, you are putting yourself at risk of injury. If you’re beginning your exercise routine for the first time, you may want to start slow and gradually increase your workouts until you get to a point where you can move 150 minutes each week.
Consult a Physical Therapist
Physical therapists are movement experts who treat musculoskeletal conditions and injuries. Whether you’ve sustained an injury, have noticed pain while exercising, or are recovering from surgery, physical therapy is the tool to help you get back to the activities that bring joy into your life. Your physical therapist will work with you to create realistic movement and exercise goals that you can continue even after your treatment.
Performance Physical Therapy is here to help you as you start, restart, or maintain your fitness journey. Contact us at 401-726-7100 to schedule a free 15-minute evaluation with a physical therapist or to request an appointment. We are offering in-clinic and telehealth appointments to both new and existing patients.