How to Restart Exercising in 5 Simple Steps

5 Simple Steps to Restart Exercising

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.

How to Restart Exercising in 5 Simple Steps

I also picked two pairs of Xersion brand bottoms: one pair of Xersion Double-Band Pants and one pair of Xersion Space-Dyed Colorblock Capris.

How to Restart Exercising in 5 Simple Steps How to Restart Exercising in 5 Simple Steps

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.

How to Restart Exercising in 5 Simple Steps

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.

How to Restart Exercising in 5 Simple Steps

I also love that this top is multifunctional; I can wear it to exercise or pair it with jeans on the weekend.

How to Restart Exercising in 5 Simple Steps

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.

How to Restart Exercising in 5 Simple Steps

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!

How to Restart Exercising in 5 Simple Steps

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!

How to Restart Exercising in 5 Simple Steps

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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This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older (or nineteen (19) years of age or older in Alabama and Nebraska). Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by email. The notification email will come directly from BlogHer via the sweeps@blogher email address. You will have 2 business days to respond; otherwise a new winner will be selected.

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284 responses to “How to Restart Exercising in 5 Simple Steps”

  1. I need new shoes to help me get out and walk and a new warm exercise suit with a hoodie and soft pants to keep me warm in the winter months!

  2. I’d love to get a new sports bra! The one you mentioned sounds like a great option for good support needed while nursing!

  3. I have a 5 month old also (my second) and am in desperate need of energy! Have no choice but to start exercising before work again. Just wish he slept through the night 🙂 Thank you for the great info…showed up in my inbox at a perfect time for me.

  4. I would like to have a work out top that doesn’t lift up on me when I bend over but isn’t so tight that I feel uncomfortable! Your picks look great!

  5. I used to have an exercise partner and I loved it. It did hold me accountable but it was more fun to exercise with someone too.

  6. I would love a sports bra that fits perfect and has strong support, no bouncing….that would be living the dream!

  7. these are great tips. I am having a baby any day now and I am hoping to jump right back on the horse as far as my exercise goes…but I know I will have to take it easy at first and easy my way back into things.

  8. I need long sleeved shirt for riding my bike during the fall and winter. I was riding 5 days a week but have been slacking due the shorter daylight hours.

  9. This sounds like me only i’m 10 months postpartum, not 5 =X LOL! These are all great steps to take and I love the idea of rewarding yourself for making an effort!

  10. I need to get my butt back in gear… I always say that and I try then I get bored and give up. Pathetic really I know! Sometimes I feel like the only reason I’m not working out is because I can’t get out of my own way! Love the adorable work out gear!

  11. I so need to start working out again, I was doing so well this summer. I could really use some new sneakers and some cute workout clothes to make me feel alive…thanks for the inspiration!

  12. I’m not much of a capri person but you make them look so cute! I think I would have to try something new and get myself a pair of them.

  13. Thank you for the giveaway. I’m always looking for new tops to wear and would love to have Xersion Short-Sleeve V-Neck T-Shirt, or the long sleeved. I, however, I have a hard time finding pants that fit my long torso.

  14. I’d like to get some new sneakers. I’ve been using my old pair for 2 years now and I’m really due for a new pair.

  15. The one new piece of workout apparel I’d love to have are a nice pair of workout pants. It always feels great to have a new pair.

  16. One new piece I need is a new pair of shoes! My aching feet need more cushion, or even a new cushions, like new pair!

  17. I love your tips, it is so easy to get out of your routine or to get side tracked and neglect your exercise routine.

  18. I’d love to have some workout leggings or capris. I only own shorts right now.
    maddiembrubaker {at} gmail [dot] com

  19. Since I lost some weight, my workout clothes are too big. If I win this card, I will get myself a new exercise wardrobe.

  20. I just started back working out and joined a gym. I need to get some running shoes and more pants to work out in.

  21. starting easy is the big one for me….just getting started…and nothing is more motivating than knowing it’ll be easy. after i get started, it doesn’t even have to be easy because then i’m into it.

  22. One new piece of workout apparel that I would love to have is a new pair of good walking shoes as mine are worn out.

  23. I would love some leggings like these–

    Thanks for the chance to win!

    wildorchid985 AT gmail DOT com

  24. One new piece of workout apparel that I would love to have is a sports bra that has clasps in the front. I’ve had some in the past and they were so much easier to get on and off than the kind of sports bras that you just pull over your head.

  25. Thanks for the tips, especially rewarding yourself just for showing up. I needed that reminder.
    I need some new leggings and new athletic shoes with really good arch support.

  26. I’d really like to have some new workout pants, not necessarily yoga pants though. I like the legging style like your capris in the pic above.

  27. This was a nice article. Around the holiday I become a slacker and then feel guilty afterwards. I have already started slacking off so I am going to try these tips.

  28. I do need new exercise clothes that fit. I dread tiring to squeeze into the workout pants from pre baby. But then that means I don’t exercise. Vicious cycle.

  29. I too, have started exercising within the last two months. I have bought a few pieces to get started but one item I really need is a good exercise bra like the Nike® Victory Compression Bra found at JCPenney’s.

  30. I would love to have some new tennis shoes and these are great tips for me because I am trying to get back in it!

  31. I never have to talk myself in to going for a power walk. My first choice is going with a friend, and if no one is available I just take my cell phone and use the time to catch up with a friend, my parents, or one of my siblings.

    It actually brings me joy and is rarely something I have to ‘get over with’.

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