Are you doing the same exercise routine day in and day out? Most likely you’re bored and not getting the results you hoped for. Guess what? Your muscles are bored too- they’ve already adapted to the activity and are at ho hum status quo. Chances are you’ve hit a plateau and your progress has halted.
You have to change it up to get the results you want and to stay committed. The great thing about triathlon is cross training is built in (swim, bike, run), but even triathletes can get in a rut. The solution? Change it up. If you’re not feeling it, forcing yourself into a prescribed workout is not always the answer and can lead to burnout. Substituting a fun activity that you don’t do often is one way to combat exercise ennui.
This weekend, instead of another bike ride, I laced up my roller blades (remember those things?) and rolled out the door. It was quite refreshing and is a great, low impact leg workout that targets different muscles than biking or running.
10 Tips to change it up for better results
- Change your route regularly. If you run / bike on roads, hit the trails. At the beach? Run barefoot in the thick sand.
- Boost your intensity / speed. Add interval training, track workouts or hills.
- Increase your load in the gym. Add weight so that you can just barely do 3 sets of 8 until you’re able to do 3 sets of 12, then up it again. (And no, ladies, you won’t get too big – that takes a ton more work.)
- Alternate exercises. Doing the exact same routine every day may make it easy to go through the motions, but unfortunately that’s all your muscles will be doing too. And you’ll be sacrificing results and possibly inviting injury. Switch out bench presses for chest flys with dumbells, etc..
- Include strength & core training. It will enhance everything you do and help protect you from injury. Not to mention the vanity dividends.
- Get outside. A good dose of Vitamin D, fresh air and scenery will do wonders for your energy level and your spirit.
- Do yoga. Your body will thank you.
- Try something entirely different – SUP, surfing, skiing, snowboarding, wake boarding, rollerblading, soccer, softball, tennis, limitless options.
- Make exercise time your fun time. What physical activity makes you smile? Starts with S? I meant skipping rope, but yes, of course the other too!
- Cultivate a handful of activity partners so you always have a playmate for different activities.
What do you do to roll out if your exercise ruts?
Being fit and healthy for life is to a large extent about exercising (pun intended) an active lifestyle. Having a healthy mindset to a large degree is also about being physical, being outdoors and being open to new experiences, people, ideas and places.
So my advice, plan your next vacation and make it count. It’s an investment in your health and well being that will pay dividends in both the short and long run. I know you’re so worn out from your daily grind that you might think you just want to sink into a hammock with a coconut drink and not move for 7 days, but hear me out. You can have your coconut drink and hammock time, but if you vaca my way, I guarantee you’ll enjoy them more.
Whether it’s a staycation, a camping trip, or an exotic locale – find your activity bliss (limitless options) – whatever makes you smile while you sweat just a little or a lot.
7 tips to “activate” your next getaway
- Say “yes” to opportunity. If an invitation to do something active and outside of your realm lands in your lap, take it. Adjust your schedule, do what you need to do, but as they say “Just do it.” It’s those serendipitous surprises in life that seem to yield the biggest rewards.
- Try an activity that’s outside of your comfort zone. (On a recent vaca, I immersed myself in yoga and meditation and it yielded some incredible results, as well as a new respect for both activities. I’m a convert – I’ll tell you why in an upcoming post .)
- Go somewhere new. Even if it’s just that park around the corner that you’ve never explored, go check it out.
- Get out of the country if you can. The dollar is strong right now so it’s probably less expensive than you think and it’s such an enriching experience.
- Book a trek, bike / multi-sport, dive, kayak, [fill in the blank] adventure vacation. There are so many great active adventure tour operators out there and they cater to people of all levels. No planning, just tons of active fun with like-minded people. (My adventures have included a 4 day trek to Machu Pichuu, and more recently, an amazing 3 day multi-sport and a 3 day mt. bike adventure in Northern Thailand. (See my pics,videos and posts on my adventure travel site: onthelooselive.com.)
- Do what you’ve always wanted to do. Take that tennis, golfing, dancing, karate, fly fishing, or rock climbing class that you’ve always wanted to. There’s no time like the present so stop putting the good stuff off. Try something new or get back to an old, but not forgotten pastime. With tons of inexpensive and free classes, your local community colleges and yes, even senior centers are great resources.
- Check out local activity meetups at your destination. You’ll meet new peeps and get the local scoop on bike routes, hiking, running trails,etc..
The options are limitless! Tell me, where will you go next and what will you do?
You’ve probably gotten the idea by now that I find being vigorously active outdoors exhilarating. And I count myself as fortunate to have friends who like to share in the fun. Yes, I said, “fun”. I understand that some people, perhaps the majority (certainly, the sedentary majority) think of exercise as punishment. And therein lies one of the greatest obstacles to being more physically active and improving our health. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out what happens when we think of sugary / fat, high-calorie, low nutrition foods as “treats” or “rewards” and exercise as “punishment”.
Day 5, 2014. How are those New Year’s resolutions going? If you’re already falling short, you’re not alone. (I was supposed to be on my 5th blog by now.) According to the University of Scranton, of the 45% of us who make New Year’s resolutions, a mere 8% actually achieve them. So what’s one to do? Instead of making blanket, generic resolutions – be healthier, lose weight, exercise― get specific.
We all know that exercise is great for stress relief. Exercise helps us exorcise our daily demons – be they an unfair boss, a traffic ticket, or just a bad day. A trail run, a tennis game, or a walk in the park can make it all better. Now researchers at Princeton are finding that exercise also equips our bodies to deal with stress better overall—even when we are not exercising.