Asian man tired after exercise.

You may know that physical fitness is up there with being well-groomed, but life has a funny way of messing up your best-laid plans. Whether a hectic work schedule, relationship issues, or traveling, taking a long break from exercise happens to the best of us. But don’t worry, getting back on track is achievable, even if you have a deadline (beach season) on the horizon. Here’s how to ease your way into working out after a hiatus so you can get back into a routine that works for you.

1. Reassess Your Current Fitness Level

Before diving headfirst into heavy deadlifts and squats, you’ll need to assess your current physical state. You can’t expect to pick up right where you left off; you’ll need to build up your cardio, strength, and overall mobility again. By being honest with yourself, you’ll be able to decide on a starting point that best suits you. Remember, pushing yourself too hard too soon could lead to injury and could discourage you from working out again.

2. Set Reasonable Goals for Yourself

While having big fitness goals is good, it’s important to keep them realistic, especially if you’ve been on a long break from exercise. Instead of aiming for your old PRs, focus on small, achievable milestones. Whether it’s adding a kilometer or two to your runs or even just , setting attainable goals will help you stay motivated and on track.

Guidelines from the suggest adults should do at least 150 minutes or 300 minutes (2.5 to 5 hours) of moderate-intensity physical activity each week – use this as a goal for now.

3. Start Slow and Steady

It’s great that you’re enthusiastic about exercise, even after taking a long break. But if you can, resist the urge to go all out. Instead, ease yourself into working out gradually to give your body time to adjust. You could start with basic stretching exercises or low-impact activities like brisk , , or to get your body used to moving again. When , you can start to increase the intensity and duration of your workouts again.

4. Be Consistent

The key to achieving physical fitness is consistency. Instead of aiming for perfection and getting ripped, prioritize consistency by working out regularly. It doesn’t matter if you’ve only clocked in 20-30 minutes of exercise per session – just keep a routine. Once you’ve regained momentum and confidence, you can ramp up the intensity and frequency of your workouts.

When you’re working up a sweat in the gym, you’ll need something that will keep your sweat at bay. Swipe on some Rexona Men Motionsense Roll On Deodorant Ice Cool after your shower. It’ll keep sweat at bay for an ice-cool 72 hours, so all you have to worry about is getting more reps in.

5. Find a Workout Buddy

Having someone to exercise with can provide accountability and make working out more fun after a long break. They can motivate you, encourage you, and even compete with you to push you to get better. Another bonus? They can help spot you as you get back into lifting weights and give you feedback on your form and technique.

6. Listen to Your Body

One of the most important fitness lessons many of us forget is learning how to listen to our bodies. Pay attention to how you feel during and after workouts and adjust accordingly. If you’re down with a bad case of DOMs (delayed onset muscle soreness), allow yourself to take a break. If you need more time between sets, by all means, give yourself a longer rest period. 

One study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that it takes 72 hours of rest – or three days – between strength training sessions for full muscle recovery. This should help you gauge how much time you need before you get back to the gym.

Niggling pains or any kind of discomfort may also be a sign that you need to scale back. Know when you’re always pushing your body past its limit, because working through pain may be counterproductive for your fitness goals. 

7. Mix It Up

Being consistent is good, but you can choose to challenge your body by mixing your workouts up. While you should always have the concept of progressive overload at the back of your mind, you can also add different kinds of cardiovascular, strength and flexibility exercises to keep things interesting. If you weren’t happy with your old workouts, here’s your chance to start something new and push your body in new ways.

8. Fuel Your Fitness Journey Properly

No amount of exercise will nullify a bad diet. Always think about eating to fuel your body for peak performance, rather than just to satiate hunger. Even if you’re just starting out again, it’s important to build better eating habits so you can reap the benefits of clean eating and regular exercise faster.

Focus on a rich in lean protein, complex carbs, fruits, and vegetables. This will give your body the essential nutrients to perform at its best and help you recover more easily.

9. Embrace Rest and Recovery

Don’t underestimate the importance of rest. Be patient with yourself, especially since you’ve taken a long hiatus from exercise. Give your body the rest it needs for muscle repair, recovery, and growth. Doing this will prevent burnout and help you achieve the fitness goals you’re aiming for.

Getting back to working out after a long break can feel daunting, but with the right approach, it's more than doable. Yes, there will be setbacks and challenges along the way but staying persistent and focused on your fitness goals will help you get back into shape again.