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Been a while since you worked out? Expert tips on how to ease in

Whether the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted your exercise routine or other aspects of life got in the way, it can be hard to stay on track with working out.

It can also be challenging to get back into a routine after a long hiatus.

To help get you started, we asked personal trainer and founder of Form Fitness Brooklyn Morit Summers for her tops tips for easing into moving your body again.

Start slow: "There is no reason to put too much pressure on yourself," Summers says, adding going too hard, too fast increases your risk of injury and burnout.

"We need to start slow, meaning not suddenly going from zero days a week to seven days a week... (or) from zero minutes to two hours," she adds.

Instead, she suggests starting with a walk, bike ride or online workout for 20 to 30 minutes about two to four days a week and slowly increasing from there. 

If you're taking an in-person workout class, which are usually 45 minutes to an hour, Summers says don't hesitate telling the instructor you're new and will be moving at your own pace.

Set realistic expectations: Summers says don't expect to be able to do what you could the last time you worked out. Instead, be encouraged that with a slow and steady pace, you can get there again.

"We can't expect to be at the same fitness level we used to be at. Get rid of that expectation," she advises. "If you used to be able to do something and you have that goal again, that's great, but remember it took you time to get there the first time - so train for it. If you go hard too quickly, you will likely end up with an injury and then won't be able to reach that goal."

Embrace where you're at and begin: "Be OK with being a beginner again," Summers advises, admitting starting is the hardest part, whether you are a beginner or a pro. 

"Start by picking something that is the right level for you at the time, something you enjoy and something that is achievable," she says, adding simple movements like walking or stretch can help kick things off. "Once you begin the process of moving, you've already gotten past the hard part."

Summers says she also incorporates workout time into her schedule, which can be a helpful tool to stay on track.

"I have my workout time in my calendar, just like any other appointment in my life," she shares. 

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