Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Ease back into exercise

Health update: I'm finally well again! 

After over a month of pain, my cough has finally disappeared. My recovery makes me really glad I made the hard but healthy choice not to run the 10k in October--definitely the smart decision.  While I was sick, I intentionally stepped back exercise because my lungs couldn't handle it and I really wanted to get better.  There's little glory in coughing myself through a workout, no need to put additional stress on an already stressed body.

BUT, feeling well and ready to work out... how do I get back in?  

For me, it started with walking.  As I explained in my post about not running my 10k, even walking around the city was leaving me short of breath.  So, that's step one: Early in November, I began going on the treadmill on a slight incline, walking at 3.0 mph for 20 - 30 minutes.  Later, I increased to 3.5-4 mph and also added in yoga stretching to warm up my muscles again.

In the second week, I tried the elliptical to get my heart rate up a bit more.  I also did some at-home workouts using DVDs (mostly bodyweight and dumbell exercises).  Finally, I went back on the treadmill and tried to kick it up to a 6mph run.  It lasted a few minutes before my knee woke up and whined to me.  (If only I had a Zero Runner...)

Interestingly, this made me think of Spinning and how much I used to enjoy it.  I had a great teacher until I moved, and I've been unable to find a class I love since.  Trying to get my heart pumping again, though, without shocking my joints, cycling seemed like a great solution.  Dusting off my spin shoes, I tried a few classes near me and immediately found a few teachers I enjoyed enough--if didn't love--and a few I did not.  After so long away from the bike, though, I must say I was happy to be back. After sitting around for so long, I loved the feeling of my heart soaring and then coming down again.  During the cold winter when I'm less inclined to head out for a run, I definitely see myself continuing to spin once a week or so.

This past week, I've done some Pilates and a strength class.  The class involved a lot of switching between exercises--bodyweight and dumbell--with three very short cardio intervals.  I was able to keep up and felt great after.  My legs were quite sore, but the good kind!  My back has felt amazing since I got a massage on my sister's birthday two weeks ago, so I don't want to do anything to upset it (like BODYPUMP, perhaps).  I'll probably continue doing bodyweight exercises (avoiding the barbell for now), yoga, and a bit of cycling; we'll see how it goes!

I'm still figuring out what my new routine will be, but easing back into fitness has finally gotten me to a place where I'm ready to decide and get moving! 

After illness or time off, how do you get back into fitness?  

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