Fitness Strategies

Start Small with an Exercise Fast Break

How Can Small Equal Fast?

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As you may have read in the Nutrition Resource Center, one of the keys to maintaining a healthy diet in the long run is starting small with a Fast Break. This idea not only applies to food; a fitness Fast Break is just as important.

While starting small helps you to avoid burnout when it comes to eating healthy, it also helps to avoid blowout when it comes to fitness. When you decide to start a fitness regimen, it’s easy to think you can just pick up right where you left, regardless if it was two weeks ago, two months ago or even two years ago! Unfortunately, fitness does not work that way. In fact, trying to jump right back in can be dangerous.

Whenever you work out, the muscles in your body break down and then repair themselves. The more active you are, the easier and less painful this process becomes. But when you jump right back into a workout routine after a long absence, your muscles are not prepared. It will take awhile for the body to recover from pressing too hard and one feeling will result – major soreness (a little is okay, after all).

By starting small with a fast break, you ease your body back into the routine of exercise without the pain (or at least not as much). And don’t feel like you are a wimp because you are starting small. By establishing a solid base, your body will soon be ready to roll and adding more difficulty to your workout will be easier than you think.

So what are effective yet simple fast break ideas? Here are some possibilities:
  • Walk every day for 15 minutes
  • Get 8 hours of sleep every night (good for energy)
  • Stretch every morning
  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator at work
  • Skip a TV show and go outside instead
  • Do push-ups or sit-ups for one minute (as many as you can)
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About The Author

Zach Van Hart Zach Van Hart
Zach is a journalist who regularly covers health and exercise topics.

Member Comments

  • i need to add more stretching to my routine. - 1/11/2014 10:45:09 PM
  • This article came at just the right time. I had a relapse and was practically bed ridden for a week. So I've had to force myself to get up and get going. I wish I could listen to music while I go--but no dice.

    Great job of putting this info together.

    Renie - 10/2/2013 1:40:21 AM
  • I am going to try a 15 min walk every morning as a way to get motivated to continue with workouts. - 6/5/2013 3:50:25 PM
  • @Moonlightck
    Congrats in your new baby!!
    Anyhoos..have you considered looking into some light Pilates or yoga? They will help keep your muscles strong and your body stretched in good ways, Also I suggest maybe just going on a walk for 15 minutes everyday! I just realized you posted that in January and its now March, but I hope you found some things to work for you and your situation!! :) - 3/25/2013 6:46:24 PM
  • I recently had a baby and can not do a lot of exercising due to health issues at the moment but, do not want to gain weight. I want to lose weight. Any suggestions? Im trying to stay in my cals i intake per day but, wont that only mantain my weight? - 1/11/2013 6:58:38 PM
  • Really great advice and it worked for me when I felt overwhelmed - 1/5/2013 7:30:56 PM
  • Thank you for the motivation to start right this time.
    - 12/30/2012 10:45:29 AM
  • Although I knew most of this, it was still insightful seeing the detailed answers for the questions. The platuae was new info for me. Wish I would have knows that A LONG TIME AGO! - 12/26/2012 11:07:59 AM
  • I found this to be helpful as I was very sick for a couple of years/totally inactive. Wanted to jump back into regular activity right away, was disappointed when I didn't have the ability to do that. It was not possible for me to sit on the floor and then stand by myself. This was a reminder to take baby steps....work back up to where is was slowly. - 9/30/2012 1:25:00 PM
  • I LOVE the reminder of baby steps! I only released .4 lbs. the week. The lowest amount since starting March 16, 12. BUT I can do a 10 K, (I couldn't even walk a mile when I began)! I wear 2 sizes smaller & I am a happier, healthier woman! All thanks to Spark People & my continued desire to learn!
    *~LIGHT - 7/20/2012 11:56:11 PM
  • Great reminder! I'm doing great on my workouts, but I have one problem - I have asthma. After dealing with the breathing problems for 30 years, I finally decided to go to the dr to see what I could do about it. I get so frustrated when i can't do as much as my neighbor. I feel like I'm strong enough and capable enough to follow through on something, but then my breathing reminds me that I have to take it to my level and only do what my own body will allow me to do. I may be able to do as many reps or as long a distance, but it just takes me longer. ... And that's okay :) Thank you! - 7/20/2012 5:50:27 PM
  • ELLENDEGENERES
    I enjoyed this article because I used to exercise on a regular basis and I had a personal trainer, so my exercise regime was varied and I think I got the most out of it that I could. I also enjoyed going to Zumba classes. Then I found out I had a collapsed vertebrae, herniated disc and scoliosis. Needless to say, my workouts came to an abrupt halt. The most exercise I could do was to walk the dog for 30-40 minutes, but even that gave me back pain. I changed the athletic shoes I was wearing to meet my Physical Therapist's guidelines. In the last 4 mos., I have packed on more lbs. and decided I had to go back to the gym no matter what. I went back two days ago, did 18 minutes on the elliptical and 20 mins on the recumbent bike. I am very sore today, and getting frustrated that I cannot do what I used to do. Reading this article made me realize I did too much too soon. I should've gone a lot less on my first night back. - 11/30/2011 6:57:17 PM
  • KATHIE_B
    Thanks for the reminder. I'm currently on restrictions due to surgery and have recently been given the OK to start walking again. Can't go to the gym until the 9th. I was planning on jumping right back to the routines I left behind in October but I will take a few weeks to work myself up to that pace. In the meantime I am walking. - 11/30/2011 6:34:11 AM
  • This article convinced me that this is do-able. I weigh nearly 300 lbs and most exercise routines are nearly (if not totally) impossible for me to do. This clearly written article, the great tips and the comments of others are motivating me to get started. Thanks :) - 8/24/2011 1:26:42 AM
  • I enjoyed how concise and well written this article is. - 7/3/2011 8:45:43 PM
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