Finding that you’re workout has become a chore? That may well be because you lack variety in your program. There’s nothing worse than trying to make yourself do something you don’t want to do. When that happens, it becomes boring and torturous and easy to make up excuses for not doing it. – Remember back to our school days??
FACT: Doing the same exercise monotonously greatly increases your chances of giving up altogether.
It’s all too easy for us to get into a rut, especially when we’re starting a fitness program; so to avoid this you need to mix up your program to stay motivated. Variety is a great way to keep things fresh, challenging and puts the WoW back into workout.
Another great advantage to variety is not only will you stave off boredom; it also keeps challenging your body and is a better way to achieve results. Our bodies naturally adapt to changes in our exercise and keeps it on its toes – so to speak! By changing our exercises regularly we discover muscles we would’ve forgotten about which is why you’ll find you will sometimes be sore in places after trying a new movement. Now this is a good thing; as we need to push it beyond the ‘norm’ in able for it to improve. Just be sure not to over do it as that can do some harm. Perform your exercises within your body’s capabilities.
FACT: When the body becomes complacent, it doesn’t have to work as hard and therefore your fitness and physique either plateau as well or progress very, very slowly.
How can I mix up my exercise?
They key to variety is ‘enjoyment’. You need to find activities/routines that you enjoy and then frequently mix it up. Working out in a gym is not your only option of exercise. You need to keep an open mind and be willing to try new things but before you do, make sure you consult your doctor before hand, especially if you have any medical conditions.
FACT: As well as physical benefits, variety also provides psychological benefits.
This is a great place to workout outdoors. Cross training can be easily done here such as running, swimming, surfing, walking in soft sand and playing sport are some examples out of the many available. Your options are only limited to your imagination!
There are many advantages to beach workouts which include the following…
- The surface of the sand has some give, so when walking or running there is less stress put on your joints.
- More resistance when you walk or run because of the give in the sandy surface.
- Opportunity to meet new people.
- Your body can absorb some vitamin D from the sun.
- Your body and mind get some fresh air.
- It’s absolutely FUN!
Disadvantages to be aware of …
- You may have to run or walk on an angled surface – try finding as flat a surface as possible for safety.
- Be sure to use safety measures such as sun screen, UV protection sunglasses, goggles, hat, stinger suits, and swim only when there is a lifeguard present or with a mate.
- Ask the lifeguard what you need to watch out for and the conditions expected in the area you are wishing to swim or surf.
- Be sure to never do you exercising on the beach in the middle of the day as that is when the sun is at its hottest.
- Don’t stay too long in the water or you risk developing hypothermia – where your body temperature drops below normal.
- Don’t stay to long in the sun on the beach or you risk developing hypothermia – where your body temperature becomes to high.
- Rest in the shade if you begin to feel dizzy or faint.
Basically, just use your noggin (common sense).
FACT: Ocean water is colder than pool water, so you’ll fatigue faster when swimming in the sea.
What you need to do…
- Stretching – Pre and Post workout. Before any workout you need to stretch but be sure to spend a little more time into stretching as running on the soft sand can put extra stress on your Achilles tendon.
- Hydrate your body – Drink approximately 2 decent sized glasses of water about an hour before hitting the beach and constantly drink water throughout your workout.
If you love walking, taking a hike will be right up your alley! Start with short distances and gradually increase the distance. You don’t want to overdo it. When you are feeling more comfortable try longer weekend hikes that might include more challenging trails.
- Scenery – more interesting surroundings.
- You will find that you spend more time doing this activity than walking around your usual route.
- Trekking over natural terrain burns more calories than brisk walking!
- A great day out with your family or friends.
- Notify the ranger or proper authorities when you will be there.
- Take plenty of water
- If you are going to be there for the day or longer take healthy snacks and foods.
- Wear the correct footwear and required clothing.
- Take a map and compass.
- Take your mobile phone or radio.
The great thing about cycling is that you can do it anywhere at anytime! When it’s sunny, go for a spin in the local park or with a cycling club. If it’s raining, no problem! You can use a stationary bike at home or join a spin class at your gym.
- It’s an all-weather activity.
- It’s easier on your joints as the exercise is a non-weight-bearing exercise.
- You can vary the intensity and work different leg muscles by either sitting or standing, changing the intensity level at a flick of a switch on the handle bars, or by riding up hill or downhill.
- Great exercise for your legs and glutes.
- Ensure your bike is sized and correctly fitted for you as it can help you to avoid some preventable injuries – cycling club members, bike shop staff or your spin instructor can help with this.
- Always wear safety gear such as a helmet.
- Have water with you at all times.
- Make sure when you are riding that there is a little bend in your knee when the pedal is in the down position.
- Stretch before any exercise.
Elastic Workout Bands
- Affordable – you can purchase elastic bands for far less than you would a home gym.
- Great for travel – you can use them anywhere at anytime and are easily stored in your bag as they are light and flexible.
- Plenty of variety – the exercises that you can do with these things are limitless. If you don’t like using weights you can substitute them for elastic bands.
- Can be more efficient than weights with some exercises.
- Great for resistance training, strength training, body toning, weight loss and speed training.
- You have to tell your friends and family to get their own!
- Always stretch before and after exercising.
- Don’t over do it – You shouldn’t do more than 8 to 12 reps on each exercise.
Other ideas to spice up your workout include…
- Fit ball workouts
- Aerobics/water aerobics
- Circuit training
- Classes – dancing, kickboxing, martial arts, aerobics, spin, etc.
- Sporting Clubs – soccer, touch football, squash, tennis, etc.