Fall marks a change in seasons and can also be a good time to make personal changes. If you’ve been sticking with your fitness routine but it’s not as fun or rewarding as it used to be, it may be due for a fresh start. What are some signs that your fitness routine could use a shake-up?These might include:
- Not feeling energized by your workout.
- Feeling prolonged aches or fatigue after you exercise.
- Dreading your workout (and eventually making up excuses not to do it).
You know about all the benefits of regular exercise so you know it won’t pay to quit. Instead, try one or more of these tips and make a change to help you stick with, and perhaps fall in love with your workout all over again.
Boost the challenge with interval training.
Many beginners like to stay in the “safe” zone. After all, it was scary getting started in the first place. But by keeping your efforts minimal, you are missing out on added benefits such as increased endurance, and positive hormonal effects. There is also the potential for increased calorie burning and metabolism. Increasing the intensity allows you to achieve maximum effects with the least amount of time. You can easily up the intensity without feeling overwhelmed by incorporating “intervals” of higher intensity. For example, if you are used to walking at a comfortable pace, increase the speed of your stride for up to a minute just above that pace. Return back to the former for 2 or 3 minutes and repeat.Be sure to include resistance training in your routine.
It is easy to fall into the habit of being a devotee of “cardio” exercise while excluding all-important resistance training. If you are spending 45 minutes or more on a treadmill or elliptical, know that cardio is important but, you don't have to spend that much time. 30 minutes is sufficient (even less if you boost the intensity). Just 20 minutes of resistance training 2-3 per week will reward you with a more toned physique, even more energy, and you can pick up and carry heavier items. That’s something to get excited about!
Join a group or a class.
Going it alone works for some people but others need a little community support. Joining a class can put you in touch with like-minded individuals – all striving for the common goal of getting fit and having fun. In addition to instruction and guidance from the class leader, you can also gain a sense of belonging and camaraderie. I recently heard a new participant rave about how joining my circuit training class made her feel excited about exercise again because it introduced her to new exercises and challenged her to do things she would never have thought to do on her own. By the same token, working out with a buddy adds a social element and can be more exciting for both of you, perhaps emboldening each other to try new modes.
Track Your Workouts.
Smart phones and smart watches will track everything for you to give you immediate feedback and even encouragement. If you haven’t been using one, in the words of a person I know who just started doing so, “it changes everything” taking her from being a casual exerciser to a serious goal-setter.
It doesn’t take much to tweak your routine to make it seem less routine.
Fall-in with something new and fall in love with exercise all over again!