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 enthusiasm will fade away and you’ll be left seeking more exciting things to do.

  • 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! I’ve just finished a 90-day exercise challenge, which over the course of the 90 days targeted different areas so gave me a good all-round workout. Whilst some days were tough, I’m so pleased with myself for sticking at it and completing it. Why not set yourself a goal and challenge yourself?

Here are a few suggestions of how you could challenge yourself and change your fitness workout:

  1. 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. It will also expose your immune system to different things and surroundings, which may in turn help strengthen it.

  1. 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. I would suggest doing something you like. I’m a big fan of Zumba as I love dancing!

  1. Try HIIT

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 extremely effective and is particularly great if you’re short on time, as it can really maximise the time you spend exercising. I recommend including it over the course of the week, combined with your other exercise plans.

  1. Boost the intensity

If you really enjoy what you’re doing and don’t want to swap, consider upping the intensity of 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 out the chorus of your favourite song you know it’s time to go faster.

If you would like any help or advice with varying your exercise routine, then please get in touch.

For those of you who are not quite at this stage yet and are looking to begin your fitness journey, you might find this blog post I wrote last month helpful https://rafiat.co.uk/2021/06/29/tips-to-help-you-begin-your-fitness-journey/

 

Source: Forever Blog by Rachel Sharpe, May 2021 (adapted)