I’m an over 50 female who experienced a very high conflict divorce last year. I’m ashamed to say that I allowed my depression to cause me to become very inactive. There has been a two year period in which I’ve barely gotten off the couch.
I decided that had to come to an end. Yesterday I pulled out some old exercise videos and did a 30 minute workout. Today I can hardly move! Gone are the days of endless stamina and muscles that were pliable and willing. I’m paying for my lack of investment in my physical fitness and was hoping you could give me a few tips on how to ease back into a regular workout routine.
Congratulations on taking the first step towards a healthier future, making the decision to end your period of inactivity. Although doing an exercise video at home is a great idea, working up to the full 30 minutes should be your goal, with a slow progression. Not surprisingly you felt sore afterwards, but try to steer clear of negative thinking, you WILL get back to greater stamina and muscle strength with a patient approach. Here are some suggestions to get you started.
1. If using exercise videos is your preference, start with a more basic, and beginner’s workout. Most videos have a few choices of workouts, and starting with the first one, even if you had progressed from that point in the past, is how to get going. If there is only one workout on the video you have chosen, perhaps saving that one for the future would be best.
Check out workouts on-line, or visit your library for other options. Additionally, you can make adjustments to your current choice, by doing fewer repetitions, lighter weights, or shortening the length of time. As long as you start with a dynamic warm-up, one which uses your larger leg muscles to get your body temp and heart rate slightly elevated, you’ll be good to go.
2. You may also want to consider trying other types of workouts as you get started, and the options are endless. If you have access to a gym, stationary biking or walking on a treadmill are wonderful cardio strengtheners, and you can easily control the intensity and duration. Start with 10 minutes at a lower resistance/speed, and each week add a few extra minutes as you increase intensity.
3. Incorporating strength training is so important, and is a great follow-up to the cardio segment of your workout session. Keep in mind that building and maintaining muscle is vital for so many aspects of fitness as you get older, such as bone density, weight control, balance, and stamina, to name a few. Start with squats and lunges, using your body weight for resistance, and then add bicep curls, chest presses, and tricep curls with light weights. Within a short period of time you will find yourself becoming stronger and needing to add heavier weights and more repetitions to your routine.
Remember that it has been a while since you were leading an active life, and getting back will take some patience and determination, but you can do it! This won’t happen overnight, but one day in the near future, you will realize that your fitness level is back, and quite possibly even better than it was before.