By Dr. Natasa Brasik
Some things are easier said than done, especially if your fitness routine falls by the wayside. If you haven’t worked out for a while, here are some useful tips and tricks to help you get back on track.
1) Start with Visualization. Sometimes the first step can be the hardest. This is why the power of visualisation can be the key in the first step to taking up a consistent workout routine again. Having recently undergone a minor surgery myself, I can only speak from experience when I say that visualising yourself doing what you’d like to do is key before starting any kind of routine. Your mind is a powerful tool and can aid in preparing your body for any upcoming activity. Ideally, it would be highly recommended to practise meditation, as it in fact helps your mind to become focused on any tasks ahead of you.
2) Simply Breathe. Another possibility to ease yourself back into your workout routine would be simple breathing techniques. After my surgery I was very restricted in my physical capabilities and I was not allowed to move about a lot. However, I still had my breath. And guess what…lungs need to be exercised too! One of my go-to breathing techniques in this case is Nadi Shoda, also known as alternate nostril breathing. What may sound simple is actually quite challenging: While holding one of your nostrils closed, you breathe in through the open one. Once you take a deep breath, you close both of your nostrils for a brief moment before you open the nostril that was previously closed and then you repeat this for at least ten times. Trust me, this will not only challenge your breathing muscles but also strengthen your concentration!
3) Walk, Forrest, walk! If you haven’t noticed already, I believe in small but consistent steps. So if you feel like you are totally unfit and need to take it easy or need to recover slowly like me, I would strongly encourage you to start going for little walks. Whether you measure those with a step counter or by minutes, the important thing is not to overdo it. Aim to walk a little further everyday and you will see that you will build up some strength. Promise!
4) Work it! Last but not least, the only way to build up a workout routine again is by exercise itself. However, you should not overwork yourself as pain and sore muscles on the next day usually discourage people from continuing to exercise again. And if you have just undergone surgery like me, it is best to start exercising those muscle groups which you can work and move fully.
Overall, the above steps do not need to be followed strictly and can be combined in whichever way you want to. Just remember: Be kind to yourself and take it easy.
Editor’s note: This is a guest post by Dr. Natasa Brasik, a Senior Medical Physicist at the University Hospital in Vienna, Austria. In the past 15 years, she developed a passion for yoga, which led her to undergo a training to become a certified yoga teacher. She completed this training in 2018 and since then she has been training for an additional certification in Health Yoga. While her profession as a medical physicist fulfils her interest in radiology and enables her to work with many people from different backgrounds, yoga has helped her realize her spiritual side. Each year, she organises various yoga & sailing retreats across Istria and the Mediterranean Sea. Moreover, she holds courses in Health and Hatha Yoga across Vienna. Learn more about her at http://www.carpediemyoga.eu/.