We all know how important working out is to maintain a fit and healthy body. The problem is that, between leading busy lifestyles and being creatures of habit, we as humans tend to get ourselves stuck into repetitive routines.
If your routine involves regular exercise, you might not think this is a bad thing, but did you know that doing the same workout day in and day out loses some of its effectiveness? Variety is the spice of life, and here are some of the reasons you should seek to change up your workout often!
To prevent boredom
Creatures of habit we may be, but eventually for most people doing the same thing every day can get boring… and when exercise becomes boring, it can quickly become unappealing. It’s a great idea to switch things up often to keep your mind stimulated… otherwise your excitement will fade away and you’ll be left seeking more exciting ventures (like a trip to the pub!).
To prevent a plateau
Whether it’s the scales not going in the direction you’re after, your body not toning up, or the feeling of putting in a 30-minute workout only to barely feel any benefits, these are all signs that you’ve hit a plateau. It only takes around six to eight weeks on a workout programme for your muscles to adapt, so if you don’t continually change what you’re doing, you’ll stop noticing any benefits.
To keep challenging your body
You may prefer arm day over leg day, but you should ideally aim to train all the muscles in your body for well-rounded health and fitness! If you’re only doing the same routine over and over again there will be a whole range of muscles you’re missing out!
So how do you keep changing things up – especially if you really enjoy what you’re doing at the moment?
Try a different route
If you’re a walker, jogger, runner or cyclist, why not try finding a new route? It may be the same exercise, but the difference can challenge your body if there are different sized hills or types of terrain. This is also a great way to keep yourself from getting bored, as new sights will keep you entertained on your way. If you do any of these things on a treadmill or exercise bike at home or in a gym, simply change the resistance or use the incline feature intermittently to replicate hills you might climb outdoors.
Try different exercise classes
Sometimes we avoid something new because we have no idea where to start. For this a personal trainer, a class or online guides can be beneficial. Look for workouts which target different areas of the body or offer a range of intensity levels depending on your ability. Try something you never thought you’d enjoy – you might even be surprised! Need somewhere to start? We have a whole host of Facebook Live fitness classes in this playlist, or you can check out our fitness playlist on YouTube.
HIIT – High Intensity Interval Training – is a method of exercise where you work out very intensely for a short period of time and follow up with a short period of “active recovery” (low intensity exercise). For example: beginners might sprint at their maximum effort for 20 seconds and walk for 40 seconds and repeat this ten times. For those a little more advanced you could reverse this and do 40 seconds of sprinting, with 20 seconds of active recovery.
HIIT is particularly great if you’re short on time, as it can really maximise the time you spend exercising. By doing the above example you’ll only need 10 minutes (plus another 10 for an effective warm up and cool down) but it’ll have similar benefits (or in some cases more so) than steady-state cardio training, where you simply jog at the same level for half an hour. As a result though, it’s wise not to do too much HIIT training, as it is very intense!
Boost the intensity
If you really enjoy what you’re doing and don’t want to swap, at least consider upping the intensity on your exercise every now and then. Make it a competition with yourself to beat your own personal best, whether it’s getting faster, stronger or more flexible. When it comes to lifting weights, ensure that you can only do 8-12 reps per set. As soon as it becomes easy to do 12, it’s time to go up a weight! For cardio exercises performed with moderate intensity you should ensure that you’re just out of breath enough to not be able to sing, but to still be able to hold a conversation. As soon as you can belt the chorus of your favourite song you know it’s time to go faster.
What are your favourite ways to change up your exercises? Let us know in the comments!