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5 WAYS TO OVERCOME POST-LOCKDOWN ANXIETY AT THE GYM

If going back to the gym makes you both excited and anxious, you are not alone. These 5 ways will help you overcome the jitters.

01 Oct 2021
If you’re entertaining such thoughts, you are not alone. The pandemic has thrown us all out of loop and disrupted lives on every level. Everything has changed, and that includes your body and fitness levels. So yes, do expect a somewhat different experience when you first return to the gym but you will re-adapt to the rhythm. In the meantime, do these 5 things to help allay those anxious feelings.

Bring A Friend

Strength in numbers – you’ll feel less intimidated when you have company. Ideally, it’s someone who is also stepping back into the gym after a long hiatus and so you can be each other’s support network until you both find your groove back.

Practice Self-Love And Compassion

Be kind – to everyone around you, and to yourself. You are not perfect and that’s okay. Your body is different every day, and that’s okay. You may have lost some of the gains from your previous fitness routines, and that’s okay. The important thing is that you showed up and set your intention to get back on track. You have done enough, you are enough for now and in time, you will get better.

 

Love Your Body

You feel as if you’ve “let yourself go”. Your muscles are not as toned, you have a paunch where your washboard stomach used to be, and your flexibility has dropped considerably. Yet it is the same body that has supported you throughout the lockdown, helped you carry groceries and your pets or children, let you move around tending to your garden or building your home office. Have you ever stopped to appreciate and say thank you to your body for all that it does? Start now. Instead of fretting over how it used to be, focus on what your body is and can do. You may not have that dream body (yet) but what you have is a functioning body, one that serves you well.

Be Mindful In Your Movements

You used to hit the ground running, push through the reps mechanically, lift weight after weight without much pause … it will take a while to rebuild strength and endurance after a period of deconditioning and you don’t want to go too hard, too fast lest you end up injuring yourself. So how do you know if you’re going at the right pace? Keep that body-mind connection going with every move that you make. As you lift, place your awareness on the muscles that are being used. How do they feel? Listen to that inner voice. Is it telling you to slow down, or is it encouraging you to do more? Workouts like yoga and Pilates are great for building body-mind connection; it’s a good idea to do a quick session of either, as part of your warm-up.

You Do You

Your workout top fits more snugly than before and you’re pretty sure that bulge wasn’t there before. You think the other people at the gym will be eyeing you and taking note of your faults and flaws. Guess what? They’re just like you, too caught up in their own issues to worry about other people. Which means that no one is actually focusing on or judging anyone else. It only seems that way because that’s how insecurities tend to play out. When that niggling, whiney inner critic pipes up, shut it down by shifting your focus to the present. Concentrate on your breathing, and observe how your muscles and joints feel as you move through the paces.

Have A Workout Plan In Mind

Cardio or weights or circuit or group class or … when you’ve been away for so long, you’re understandably excited the first time you head back to the gym. You want to jump right in and do it all! Don’t. You’ll just burn yourself out and have nothing to show for it. Have a plan in mind; decide what kind of workout or which areas of the body you want to work on first, and how long your training session should be. Start slow and exercise at reduced capacity, to avoid injury.

It’s just a matter of time before you find your footing again and until that happens, the best thing you can do is to be patient with yourself.

References:

Gym Anxiety
Pandemic Stress and Anxiety Killed Exercise Motivation
8 Ways To Manage Body Image Anxiety After Lockdown
How To Deal With Anxiety Going Back To The Gym
Overcome Gym Anxiety Intimidation