Once you have made exercise a part of your life, it seems like it should be easy to keep going. After weeks, months, or even years of doing the same routine, however, we may begin to get bored. Our bodies adapt, so we may no longer feel the same rush of endorphins on a run or notice the same changes in our body with our lifting routine. To keep your body challenged, your motivation high, and your workouts fun, think about switching things up a bit.
1. Bring a friend. Instead of going for a run, heading to the yoga studio, or hitting the weights by yourself, bring a friend. Research has shown that working out with someone who is fitter than you make you increase your workout time and intensity by up to 200%! Alternatively, bring a less fit friend and help inspire them to push harder!
2. Try a new class. Instead of sticking to your usual routine, check out a class that sounds fun or interesting. Studios offer classes ranging from yoga, Pilates and spin to tumbling, bar, or hip hop dance. Love the ocean? Try a class that uses a surfboard to add a balance challenge. Getting bored with your normal yoga routine? Try an aerial class, and use straps to perform yoga in the air.
3. Switch up your weights. Instead of doing your normal three sets of 10 repetitions, try increasing the weight and decreasing the repetitions, or vice versa. Instead of using a machine, try free weights or a kettle ball. If you’re not sure where to begin, schedule a session with a physical therapist or personal trainer at your gym.
4. Add interval training. Instead of maintaining the same intensity throughout your run, walk, or ride, mix in intervals of high intensity with recovery periods of lower intensity. Try the 10-20-30 workout, which has been shown to decrease 5K times, lower blood pressure, and improve VO2 max (a measure of fitness). Warm up, then perform your chosen activity for 30 seconds at an easy pace. Up the intensity to moderate for 20 seconds, then end with 10 seconds of an all-out sprint. Repeat the 10-20-30 interval five times in a row, take a two minute rest, then repeat five more intervals. Cool down, and your workout is done! As your fitness increases, you can build to performing three or four sets of the five intervals.
5. Go outside. Use the long days to your advantage, and exercise outside. Do you normally jog on a treadmill? Try trail running. Love the rowing machine in winter? Try kayaking. Rent a stand up paddle board on a reservoir, hike a new trail, or jump on a mountain bike.
In order to keep making changes and stay motivated, add a little variety to your workout. Remember that our bodies love being challenged in new ways!
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