Getting started with exercise or some sort of activity is always the hardest part. You end up asking yourself, “Where do I start? How can I find the time? What should I do? And Is this going to last?”
Usually, when we have doubts, it may be from having past injuries whenever we got going in the past. This is where being adequately prepared for whatever we need to do is essential.
Say you need to run a half marathon but haven’t run in 2 years; you will need a game plan to make this happen. Most people will start running from the get-go, starting with 2-3 mile runs every day, thinking that’s the best way to go. Then, eventually, as they progress the mileage every week, they hit a wall and start getting hurt in the same fashion that stopped them from running in the first place.
This scenario reveals a lack of preparation. This person probably needed to start to condition things with shorter jogs than a couple of miles and have periodic rest days with targeted mobility and/or strengthening exercises to support the anticipation of increased running. You can start doing things right off the bat, but eventually, your body can only hold up so long.
By checking off the right boxes and establishing a new baseline every couple of weeks, you can then increase your threshold to withstand harder exercise and continue to push, reducing the likelihood of an injury. If things start to feel a little off, it’s best to be proactive and manage them sooner rather than pushing through; It will save you more time and aggravation in the long run.
Lastly, it is always best to be slightly over-prepared for whatever task you want to achieve as an end goal. There is never a perfect scenario for anything. Being over-prepared allows you to handle the unexpected and still have a good outcome without the risk of overreaching.
We can use the analogy of filling a gas tank to represent this idea of being slightly over prepared for a clear picture of how this would work.
All of this may seem like basic information, but sadly it is overlooked. These scenarios happen at the professional levels often, where players may not be adequately prepared in the offseason and have too big of a jump in preseason activity, leading them to be on the edge of breakdown as the season starts.
If all the boxes are checked, but you still run into issues wherever you try getting started again, you may have a structural influence that can interfere with your comeback. It’s best to get checked out by a professional to rule out any major conflicts and to be 100% cleared.
Dr. Peter Dionisopoulos is the owner and founder of Dynamic Performance & Rehab. He has worked with many high-level athletes and military personnel, but his true passion is to help active adults maintain their lifestyle by providing information and potential solutions to their aches and pains so they can continue with the activities they love.