We all know that variety is the spice of life. So why is it when it comes to exercise we find ourselves falling into a rut doing the same thing day in and day out. It could be a lack of knowledge or motivation to come up with something new each and every time that you come into the gym, but it is vital to a sustainable lifestyle of exercise to mix up what you are doing in the gym.
Boredom is often a word that is associated with exercise, and it most definitely should not with all that there is to do. A balanced program should include a variety of individual forms of cardiovascular exercise. That could include the treadmill, elliptical, swimming, or the stair climber. Some gym goers enjoy a more group-focused class such as a step class, kick boxing class, or dance cardio. Whether you have rhythm or not, it is a great way to have FUN and blast some serious calories!
Resistance training or weight training is an area where some people can get confused. How many times should I do it? Where do I put my hands? Am I targeting the right muscles? These are questions I hear daily, and it is because of these unknowns, people seem to shy away from weight training.
Exercise scientists at the University of Florida observed individuals who modified their workouts every two weeks over an eight-week period enjoyed their program and saw more measurable gains than those who didn’t. Whether training for endurance, power, or increased muscle it is important to change the workouts often. When you mentally and physically challenge your body you are less likely to plateau and therefore see increased results. Pushing your body to new limits over a period of time is only going to make your results that much better.
The concept of the dreaded “plateau” is a popular topic of conversation in my “office”. Your program seems to being going right and then after four weeks you can’t seem to make any gains. This is a prime example where mixing up your exercise can challenge your body to push past this stall in the road.
Flexibility is the last area I am going to touch on when it comes to designing a varied program. Why is stretching so important you ask? Well it is simple really: without it, your body would fail to function the way it is designed to. Every muscle is designed to function at a certain length and tension and when that is altered in anyway your body compensates. This can result in injury or unwanted pain that could put someone out of the game for weeks or even months. If you struggle with creative ways to work flexibility into your program it might be a good idea to look into taking a yoga class. Some might think yoga is for human pretzels and far beyond them, but the truth is yoga, the oldest form of exercise, has been proven to help with chronic pain for years. It does not matter if you are a beginner or have been at it for years, flexibility is vital to being successful in the gym.
While mixing up workouts might not be for everyone, it can surely help those that are struggling to lose that last 10 lbs. or just finding it hard to get motivated to get into the gym. Physically and mentally pushing your mind and body leads to achieving greater results while having fun and enjoying exercise- that we can all agree are important.