Life often throws us unexpected challenges, and sometimes, the road to recovery can be arduous and daunting. If you’ve experienced a long period away from fitness due to choice or injury, you’re not alone. Many individuals, including myself, have faced similar obstacles in their pursuit of a healthy and active lifestyle. In my case, dealing with serious knee problems (bi-lateral hypodysplasia and a lateral tilting of the patellar for those interested) led to months of physiotherapy and chiropractic work just to regain the ability to walk. However, despite the difficulties, I have come to realise that the journey back into fitness is not just about overcoming limitations but also discovering new opportunities for growth and self-discovery.

Embracing the Hurdles

Returning to fitness after a prolonged absence can be overwhelming. You might find yourself grappling with physical limitations, self-doubt, and fear of reinjury. These hurdles are natural, but they can be overcome with the right mindset and support. Patience and self-compassion are essential during this phase. Understand that progress may be slow initially, but every small step forward is a triumph in itself.

Setting Realistic Goals

After dealing with injury or being away from fitness for an extended period, it’s crucial to set realistic goals. Embrace the fact that you are starting anew and focus on the journey rather than the destination. Tailor your fitness routine to your current capabilities, and gradually increase the intensity as your body adapts and strengthens. This is something that I struggled with the most, and I often found myself trying too hard as the rest of my body felt good! Alas, it would always appear to end the same way: injuring myself and then becoming inactive for the next few months as I rested up, and wallowed in self-pity. Remember to celebrate each milestone as if it were your final goal. Take 5, reflect, and look back on how far you’ve come.


Seeking Professional Guidance

When recovering from a severe injury or dealing with a condition such as mine, it’s imperative to consult with healthcare professionals before resuming any physical activity, but it’s also worthwhile doing your own research too. Physiotherapists, chiropractors, or specialised trainers can design a customised exercise plan that considers your unique circumstances. Their expertise will help ensure a safe and effective return to fitness. If you’re in a unique situation where your condition is either chronic or long term, I think it’s incredibly beneficial to try and find yourself a support network. I was fortunate enough to find mine through the social media platform Reddit, where it was so releiving to find others like me. People struggling with the same issues that I had, people offering support from their own experiences- And suddenly I no longer felt alone in my condition.

Mindfulness and Listening to Your Body

During your fitness journey, pay close attention to your body’s signals. Mindfulness plays a crucial role in avoiding overexertion and reinjury. If you experience pain or discomfort, don’t ignore it. Instead, communicate openly with your support network and adjust your routine accordingly. Remember that rest and recovery are essential components of any fitness plan, especially during the recovery process.

Exploring New Fitness Avenues

Getting back into fitness presents an excellent opportunity to explore new activities. If certain high-impact exercises are not suitable for your condition, try low-impact alternatives like swimming, cycling, or yoga. Not only will these activities be gentler on your joints, but they may also introduce you to a new passion you never knew you had.

Support Network

Building a Support System

Whilst already mentioned further up, I believe that having a support system can be so immensely beneficial during the ups and downs of your fitness journey that it deserves its own paragraph. Share your aspirations, concerns, fears, experiences, and acheivements with friends, family, or online fitness communities. Surround yourself with positive, understanding individuals who encourage and motivate you can make a world of difference.

Appreciating the Progress

As you progress on your fitness journey, don’t forget to celebrate your achievements, no matter how small they may seem. Acknowledge the effort you put in each day, and remember that progress isn’t always linear. Some days may be more challenging than others, but what matters is your dedication to keep moving forward.


The path to rediscovering fitness after a long hiatus, especially following a significant injury or medical condition, can be both challenging and rewarding. Embrace the hurdles as opportunities to learn and grow. Be patient with yourself, set realistic goals, and seek professional guidance. Listen to your body, try new activities, and build a support system to stay motivated. Remember, this journey is not about reaching a specific destination; it’s about the transformation you undergo along the way. Be proud of the resilience you’ve shown, and let your fitness journey be a testament to your strength and determination.