The best way to start exercising again

All our advice for getting back into an exercise routine stress-free and at your own pace!

Did you know that it’s never too late to (re)start moving your body? Whatever our age or profile, exercise is good for our health. As well as toning and sculpting our bodies, protecting us against cardiovascular disease, reducing the risk of diabetes, stabilizing our blood pressure, and developing our respiratory capacity, a sporting activity appears to have anti-stress and even euphoric properties.

Just 30 minutes of exercise a day could make a significant contribution to our physical and mental well-being. So, what are we waiting for? Sylvain Ogier, sports coach and fitness trainer at the Sofitel Quiberon Thalassa Sea & Spa , is here to help you get back into the swing of things.

How can we gently start exercising again after a long break?

Sylvain Ogier: At a time when our lives are becoming increasingly sedentary, it is important to practice a regular physical activity that corresponds to your profile, your goals, and your abilities. You need to move intelligently, optimizing the time you devote to exercise. After a (long) period of inactivity, I recommend starting out gradually, which will enable your body to adapt over the course of the sessions and lower any risk of injury. You can then increase the intensity of your training sessions based on your objectives.

For a gentle return to exercising, start your day with a 15-minute joint mobilization routine: around ten movements to mobilize your entire body. This daily activity will help you to mobilize your joints and muscle tissue in new ways. Regular practice of these exercises is highly recommended in the prevention of back pain, which is usually caused by a lack of movement in the hips, pelvis, and spine.

In addition to the morning routine, I also recommend walking as much as possible throughout the day. Go up and down the stairs, and avoid sitting for too long by breaking your sitting time with light movement.

If you want to strengthen your cardiorespiratory capacities, walking can gradually evolve to include walking and running, Nordic walking, cycling or, if you enjoy water sports, swimming lessons, aqua-aerobics, aqua-biking, and aqua-Pilates, for example. Doing two cardiorespiratory activities a week will reduce your resting heart rate, improve your resistance to exercise, and have a beneficial effect on your blood pressure.

Is it important to work with a coach when getting back into exercise?

S.O.: Ideally, yes! After all, it is not uncommon to be apprehensive about returning to exercise after a period of inactivity (for example, for fear of hurting yourself or getting sore muscles). With the advice of a sports coach, you can perform exercises that are adapted and varied to ensure a smooth return to exercising. Correct positioning also means you can work safely and understand the benefits of the different exercises.

Being guided by a coach means you can exercise in the best possible conditions and gradually become more independent. Our role is to listen, advise, guide, and encourage, without guilt or judgment.

Today, there are also a number of apps that offer great advice on how to get back into exercising safely, effectively, and sustainably. Using a personal coach at home also makes it much easier to adapt your activity to your schedule and daily routine.

How can we include exercise in our daily routine?

S.O.: Everyone is responsible for their own well-being and has the power to practice self-care by eating well, moving regularly, getting enough sleep, and more.

To regain the motivation to exercise, it is important for everyone to realize the benefits of physical activity both during and after exercise. This can include taking pride in the hard work, the satisfaction of having gone all the way, the benefits in the short-term (well-being, relaxation, etc.), and the medium-term (being stronger, moving around more freely than when you started, having a better respiratory capacity when doing a sequence of exercises), and the progress made session after session.

This sporting dynamic is a source of well-being, pleasure, motivation, and satisfaction. As coaches, our mission is to guide you through the exercises, but also to encourage you to continue the efforts you make during your stay with us, and above all to make physical activity part of your daily routine. That is the key.

The enjoyment aspect is also essential. Just like when you are trying to eat a balanced diet, the important thing is to understand what makes you feel good and what you need to do to make it beneficial. Realizing the benefits of exercise for the body and the mind makes us want to do it regularly and over the long term.

Should we exercise regularly?

S.O.: It is essential! Bad habits tend to come back quickly. It is so important to maintain the level of physical activity you have started for at least three or four weeks, so that you can make it a permanent part of your routine and lifestyle. It is better to move around a little every day than to put yourself through a super intense sports session every now and then and being inactive the rest of the time.

Regularity is what reveals the real benefits of exercise.

Does exercise really help to reduce stress?

S.O.: Absolutely! Exercise is probably one of the best natural stress relievers. By getting our bodies moving and occupying our minds in a positive way, it helps to free us from the negative energy and worries that can weigh us down. The endorphins secreted during exercise have a powerful euphoric effect. As does the pride we feel after our hard work! The key is to identify one or more activities that you like and that make you want to put on your trainers and get your sportswear on. At a time when we are increasingly sedentary, this desire and enthusiasm are powerful motivators!

Is it important to exercise throughout the year?

S.O.: Yes, because, once again, regularity is essential! And as well as being a powerful source of well-being, exercise is also a useful tool for staying in shape. Regular physical activity helps you burn more calories, maintain and strengthen your muscles, and therefore look after your figure. A workout also stimulates the immune system and contributes to general good health.

Don’t forget your warm-up to ensure you get back into exercise without injury

S.O.: Especially when the weather is cold, it is essential to start a workout with a warm-up to increase your body temperature. This is the best way to prepare your muscles and joints for exercise. Stretching is beneficial, but you need to understand what to do and when. Dynamic stretching (heel-to-glute runs, high knee raises, etc.) is best done as part of a warm-up, while passive stretching (holding a stretch for at least 30 seconds) can be done as part of a cool-down or after a session.

And if the weather is fickle, the gym, gentle gymnastics, stretching, yoga, and Pilates can be your daily training allies at any time of year.

And, above all, don’t forget to breathe properly!

What sport is best for getting back into exercise?

S.O.: There are physical activities for everyone. Fitness, weight training, cardio, yoga, and more! It all depends on your objective. It is important to choose activities that you enjoy, especially when you are getting back into exercise. Above all, it is a personal choice. Only an activity that suits you will generate the feelings of satisfaction you are looking for, and inspire you to continue working hard. The season and the weather is no excuse!

Getting back into exercise outdoors

There are plenty of sporting activities and facilities to get your body moving, whatever the season. Even if the weather is cold, you should opt for outdoor activities whenever possible, as they are extremely stimulating for the whole body! Ideally, take advantage of sunny days to go for brisk walks, jogs, and bike rides. Choose parks, forests, and seaside paths, where you can reconnect with nature and get plenty of oxygen.

How to start exercising again at home

Getting back into exercise at home is an excellent way to make physical activity part of your daily routine while offering flexibility and comfort. To get started, it is essential to create a space devoted to exercise, even a small one, where you will feel comfortable and motivated. Start with basic exercises that do not require specialist equipment, such as stretching, bodyweight squats, push-ups, or yoga. The aim is to gently wake up your body and gradually get your muscles used to exercise again. Incorporate these activities into your daily routine, starting with short sessions of 10 to 15 minutes, and slowly increase the duration and intensity as your strength and fitness improve.

It is also important to establish a regular program to maintain discipline and ensure steady progress. Use online resources, such as training videos, exercise apps, or guides, to diversify your sessions and accompany you through your fitness journey. Listen carefully to your body to avoid overtraining and include rest days to allow for adequate recovery. Getting back into exercise at home also means giving yourself the chance to rediscover the joys of moving and taking care of yourself, by adapting the activity to your own pace and respecting your personal limits.

When should we start exercising again after giving birth?

Getting back into exercise after childbirth is an important step for many women who want to get back into shape while looking after their health. It is advisable to start with gentle sports, always respecting any contraindications and, above all, with the approval of a health professional. For most women, this return can be planned for as early as the first week postpartum, provided that the activity is light, such as walking or adapted resistance training, and that it does not put intense strain on the abdominal muscles.

Drawing up a progressive training schedule is essential if you want to incorporate exercise regularly and safely into your routine. Inviting friends to take part can be a fantastic way to stay motivated and share a well-being experience, for example. To sustain your energy levels, remember to keep a cereal bar or healthy snack handy. The types of exercise you should try are those that strengthen your body without rushing it, such as postnatal yoga, swimming, or Pilates, all of which contribute effectively to physical and mental recovery after childbirth.

Getting back into exercise at 50

Getting back into exercise at the age of 50 is an excellent way of maintaining your health, strength, and general well-being. At this age, it is crucial to take a moderate and considered approach, focusing on physical activities that are suited to your current physical condition and any medical conditions you may have. Starting with low-impact exercises such as walking, yoga, and cycling can help minimize the risk of injury while gradually improving muscle strength, flexibility, and cardiovascular endurance.

It is also important to consult a doctor or healthcare professional before starting or modifying your exercise routine, especially if you have specific health concerns. Incorporating resistance training and balance exercises into your routine can help prevent osteoporosis and reduce the risk of falls. Finally, setting realistic, progressive goals will keep you motivated and help you to measure your progress. With patience and perseverance, getting back into sport at 50 can become a source of pleasure and a pillar of a healthy, active life.

So when getting back into exercise sustainably, the important thing is to enjoy ourselves?

S.O.: Yes! All physical activities are good when done regularly and with enjoyment. Your body knows what is good for it. The important thing is to acquire the right habits and adopt a new lifestyle which will help you achieve an overall balance of body and mind.

The body is incredible by design, and as soon as we take care of it, it returns the favor!

To make the most of all the positive effects on the body and the mind, exercise must be seen as a special moment, an opportunity to take some time for yourself and enjoy a real breath of fresh air!

Taking care of yourself requires personal awareness. Listening to your body should be part of an overall approach to well-being (including physical activity, diet, sleep, etc.) and a source of balance and well-being in the long-term.