Beat Fitness Backsliding

Backsliding happens to the best of us, but you can overcome it.

Woman running outside with jogging stroller
Steve Ogle / Getty Images

Ever fall into a fitness slump, and start backsliding on what was once a pretty good workout routine? Maybe you sustained an injury, or had a baby. Maybe your kid was sick or it was an especially busy time at work. Maybe your favorite fitness class was cancelled or your treadmill broke. Maybe you just lost interest in exercise. Whatever the reason, it can be hard to climb out of the rut. Try these strategies to relaunch your fitness routine.

If there's an identifiable, solvable problem at the root of your backslide, that's easy! Repair the treadmill, put air in your bike tires, take the time to recuperate from your illness or injury. Remind yourself that exercise can and should be a priority, for the good of your whole family.

If you can't ID the issue, and think you're just in a slump, then you might need a jump-start, like one of these:

  • Try something new. It's hard to stick with exercise you don't enjoy, and maybe you just haven't made the right match yet. Keep trying. You don't have to make a big commitment, just a promise to try something new once or twice. If you don't like it, move on.
  • Join a group. A group class is a great way to rekindle your interest in exercise, whether it's something you've done in the past or a new type of workout. The camaraderie can work wonders. Ask friends what classes they love, and tag along. Or, if a class just isn't for you, go for a walk, run, or bike ride with a friend, or play tennis with your spouse. Turn a workout into a social occasion.
  • Do something gentle. Take a walk or a restorative yoga class or do some light water aerobics. Go slow; it's much less intimidating than feeling like you have to sweat through a super-intense, hour-long Spin class or run an 8-minute mile.
  • Create an incentive. Start with a tiny prize for getting started, like watching a funny video or downloading a cute new app for your phone. Up the ante for continuing your workouts. Maybe your reward for a week or a month of a new exercise habit could be a fitness tracker. Then it can offer you rewards too!

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