Taking the Routine Out Of Your Exercise Routine
By Khristine Clark Hammond, MS CSCS
Walking can get boring and aerobics classes are sometimes too hard on your knees. Is there any hope that you’ll find an exercise routine that will hook you for good? If you ever feel like just another gym rat sweating it out on those computerized treadmills or stair climbers, perhaps, it’s time to make a few adjustments to your exercise regimen. Just remember, there are enough off-the-beaten-path workouts to keep you coming back for more. The trick is staying motivated enough to continue doing it.
Do you remember when you first started exercising? Are you still going as strong as when you started out? Is your fitness routine as exciting to you as it was back then? Are you still seeing the results of your hard work? Chances are, unless you have mixed it up a bit along the way, you could hit into a rut or a plateau.
But if your motivation and results have begun to level out, the remedy could be as simple as adding a little variety to your exercise regimen. I know that most of us are creatures of habit who enjoy doing things that are familiar and comfortable. However, we must remember that our bodies are amazing machines that adapt very quickly to stress (in this case, exercise). To prevent hitting a plateau in your workout, you have to keep the body guessing. If you are a runner, throw a day of swimming or cycling into the routine. Although you may use the same muscle groups in running and cycling, the stresses and emphasis on the different muscles vary with each mode of exercise. The variety keeps the body from adapting right away. Cross-training is the best way to keep from hitting plateaus and burning out. Mixing things up regularly leads to muscle confusion. Muscle confusion will promote continued and progressive changes in your body.
You don’t have to be confined to traditional running, walking, swimming, and biking. And you don’t have to jump to the extreme measures of such as a program. There are exercises out there for everyone. Pilates, yoga, dancing, spinning, water aerobics, suspension training, and group sports are just a few examples. Just be creative. The sky is the limit. If your heart rate is elevated, you are using large muscle groups to complete the activity and that’s a good thing. Just be sure that you enjoy whatever it is. Put some fun in your workout program and you’ll look forward to exercising day after day.