Back when I was still pregnant with my second baby, I was certain I’d restart exercising as soon as my doctor gave me the green light.
Now here I am—almost five months postpartum—and I’m just now beginning to re-discover my exercise groove.
I guess I’d forgotten how tough it can be to find the energy and motivation to break a sweat when you’re consumed by your baby’s needs and running on just a few hours of (broken) sleep.
That’s how life goes sometimes, huh?
In the end, however, I know how important exercise is to my wellbeing, and I truly believe that taking care of myself makes me a better mom. That’s why I’m re-committing myself to an active lifestyle—for my own sake and that of my family.
Just how am I going to make it happen? Here’s a peek at my plan.
5 Simple Steps to Restart Exercising
Step 1. Start easy.
As in, super easy. Even easier than you think you should.
A lot of people who attempt to restart exercising after a hiatus—be it because they had a baby or otherwise—want to jump back in right where they left off.
They want to hop on the treadmill and run a 5K. Or pick up the same size weights they were using before. Or go through the entire Zumba class at maximum intensity.
The problem with that mindset is that it puts you at risk for injury or burnout. You’ll be so exhausted after the first week that the mere sight of your sneakers will have you heading for the couch.
A better approach? Super short exercise sessions at low to medium intensity just a few times a week or so.
That’s my plan because it will help me remember how good it feels to exercise—rather than making it feel like an exhausting chore.
Step 2. Partner up.
Sometimes exercising alone is fun—just pop in your headphones, crank up the tunes, and go—but most of the time it’s better with a friend.
The benefit of finding an exercise partner is that you’re way more likely to actually show up at the gym or the park if you know someone else is waiting for you. If you decide to blow off your workout, you have someone to answer to.
What’s more, exercising in tandem makes it social time—a tough thing to come by for most moms with little ones!
Taking care of your body while also catching up with a pal? Win-win!
Step 3. Dress the part.
Some people love exercising in their ratty old t-shirts, but I find that buying a few new pieces of fun exercise gear gives me just the motivation I need to get out there and get moving.
It makes me want to exercise because I want to wear the clothes!
And when I’m wearing appropriate clothes and shoes that fit well, exercise feels more doable because I feel more physically comfortable.
Plus, anything is possible when you feel confident in your outfit, right?! I recently had the opportunity to try a few new pieces of active apparel from JCPenney to help me restart exercising. Just opening the package in the mail and trying the pieces on gave me a healthy dose of workout motivation!
First I chose these Nike Flex Trainer sneakers because they’re made for a variety of different exercises. At this point I’m not sure if I’ll end up taking Zumba classes, training for a 5K race, or doing something else entirely, so I wanted something that would be comfortable for several activities.
I love how lightweight they are! And the hint of bright pink is a fun touch.
This is my first time trying out the Xersion brand, and I’m very impressed! All the items I picked from the brand are both fashionable and high-quality—plus, lots of Xersion items come in regular, petite, and plus sizes, so they’re made to accommodate lots of different body types.
I especially love that both of these pants feature moisture-wicking fabric and no-chafe seams for extra comfort while I’m working out.
For tops, I went with this bright pink Xersion Short-Sleeve V-Neck T-Shirt, which goes perfectly with the capris and sneakers I picked. Most of JCPenney’s activewear is easily mixed and matched, which makes getting dressed for the gym a breeze.
I also love that this top is multifunctional; I can wear it to exercise or pair it with jeans on the weekend.
Perhaps my favorite piece of all is this Xersion Long-Sleeve Half-Zip Pullover. I love the teal blue color!
It features reflective details, which will be great for evening jogs in low-light visibility, plus thumbholes to help keep the sleeves in place. And it’s the perfect weight for combatting the slight chill of fall outdoor workouts.
I also picked out this Champion Distance Underwire Sports Bra. I’m currently breastfeeding my infant, and I find that I need a lot of extra support in that area when I’m exercising. This sports bra is incredible! It provides amazing support and also gives great shape—no squished uni-boob here!
I’m really pleased with all of the workout apparel I received from JCPenney. I’m excited to exercise again just so I can wear it more!
Step 4. Try something new.
Sure, you used to be a runner or a diehard Pilates gal. But trying to jump back into those same activities can be discouraging since, like I mentioned before, you probably won’t be able to perform at the level you remember.
Avoid that discouragement completely by instead trying something new and exciting—maybe a new group fitness class, a new cardio machine at the gym, or a new exercise DVD.
I’m reminding myself that just because I didn’t like a certain type of exercise before doesn’t mean I won’t like it now—and restarting exercising is the perfect time to give something new a try.
Step 5. Reward yourself just for showing up.
When you’re just restarting an exercise routine, you really don’t need to worry about how fast you went or how high you jumped or how many reps you completed.
All that matters is that you did something.
So instead of getting fixated on the numbers or the speed, I’m going to pat myself on the back just for showing up—be it at the gym or on the sidewalk or in my living room with a workout video.
Especially for busy moms, getting there is half the battle (and probably more like 90 percent when you’re restarting from scratch), so be sure to give yourself the credit you’re due no matter how your actual workout ends up going.
What’s one new piece of workout apparel you’d love to have? Share in the comments below for a chance to win a $100 JCPenney gift card!
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