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Advice for getting back into fitness

Jon Ruff, PA-C

If starting a new exercise routine is on your mind, read on.

Jon Ruff, PA-C, an orthopedic physician assistant with Skagit Regional Health, shares insights into how mental and physical preparation can motivate you and prevent injury before diving into any workout. 

Find what you enjoy
One of the most common training mistakes is mental. Pushing yourself too hard too soon can lead to burnout and demotivation, potentially derailing your fitness journey. Instead, Ruff encourages finding joy in the exercise itself, whether it's the social aspect of being active with friends or the peace of a morning jog alone.

Start slow
Motivation is critical in building up to an exercise. Start slow and be careful to not burn yourself out. “Sometimes, people attempt a really hard hike or work out and think, ‘Oh man, I'm never going to do this again.’ That discouragement from pain or discomfort is the most important thing to avoid. It is totally okay to start slow and to find things you enjoy,” says Ruff. 

Be consistent
Consistency is key, especially if you’ve been sedentary for a while. “Don’t quit once you’ve started. You’ll get that familiar post-workout soreness, but if you maintain the activity, you’ll slowly build up your muscles and endurance and you’ll be more likely to keep at it, which is the ultimate goal,” he says. Maintaining even a low level of activity helps avoid that negative recovery phase.

Take a careful approach to getting back to exercise - consider your mindset and give yourself permission to ease into it. Finding an activity or routine that works for you and sticking with it for the long term are essential in achieving fitness goals that will last.

For more information and helpful tips on exercise from Jon Ruff, PA-C, listen to the Be Well with Skagit Regional Health podcast.