Are you feeling bored with your workout program or have you hit a plateau where you’re not feeling stronger or you can’t break through a weight loss barrier? If so, it may be time to change up your workout routine.
Longstanding research from the University of Florida found that people who varied their workouts every two weeks over an eight-week period enjoyed their workouts more and stuck with them longer than those who performed the same workouts week after week. Many studies have also shown that your body’s physiological systems generally adapt to an exercise program within about six to eight weeks, which is why you hit plateaus.
If you want to keep increasing your overall fitness, here are five ways to kick your workout routines up a notch.
Boost the Intensity
Regardless of how you work out, you can always push yourself a little harder or faster. If you jog, vary your route to include more inclines and increase your speed. Try interval training by adding a short burst of a more intense activity followed by a short phase of that activity at a slower pace.
Instead of running at the same pace for your entire workout, alternate between sprinting and walking. This boosts your fitness faster because it challenges both your body’s aerobic system (for long bouts of exercise) and anaerobic system (for short, hard bursts of energy).
Many people drop exercise programs as soon as they get bored or injured, but cross-training is a safe and easy way to avoid both. Add different activities to your workout routine – like swimming, tennis or biking – to work different large muscle groups. If you work out at a gym, use all the different cardio machines instead of the same one every time. If you always go to one specific workout class each week, switch it up and get out of your comfort zone by trying a new one.
Discover more ways to enhance your fitness routine.
Change Your Routine
By training your muscles in a different order or pattern, you force them to adapt and become stronger. There are many ways to do this. Change the order of your exercises, the number of repetitions per set, the number of sets, or the amount of resistance you use. You can even vary the amount of rest between exercise sets or workouts.
Switch Up Your Social Environment
If you normally work out alone, join a group or class. You’ll benefit from the camaraderie of the class and the feedback from the instructor, and you may make some new friends. If you normally only take exercise classes, try a solitary activity and challenge yourself to do something on your own.
Try Something Completely New
If there is a class or activity you’ve always wanted to try, switch up your workout to learn something new and use different muscle groups. Multifaceted exercise activities, such as tai chi, qigong and yoga focus on balance, coordination, agility, flexibility and body awareness as well as mind relaxation. Or, if you like intense workouts, try high-energy kickboxing or boot camps. Learn more about how more moms are incorporate martial arts into their workout routine.
Check out your gym’s class catalog or your local newspaper’s events and activities section to see what’s new in your area. Even a small change in your routine can lead to big results.
Consult your doctor before beginning any diet or exercise program.
BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee members can access wellness-related discounts on fitness products, gym memberships, healthy eating and more through Blue365®. BCBST members can also use tools and resources to help improve health and well-being by logging into BlueAccess and going to the in the Member Wellness Center under the Managing Your Health tab.