It’s been said variety is the spice of life, and there’s some truth to that statement. We all get into daily routines and do many of our tasks without thinking too much about them. We eat at the same time, go to work at the same time and take out the garbage the same day of the week.
Sometimes people could hear the words “change” or “different” and associate them with “new” and “uncomfortable.” As creatures of habit, it’s OK to like your comfort zone with its familiar surroundings, people and activities. Routines can be a very good thing in many situations.
But what about your fitness routine? Are you doing the same exercises, going to the same class, walking on the same treadmill or lifting the same weights for every workout? Maybe it’s time to change that routine. Adding a little spice can turn what’s become boring into exciting and motivating.
Cross training offers one opportunity to add variety to your workouts. Cross training is simply combining two or more types of physical activities.
There are numerous benefits to adding cross training to your fitness routine. First and foremost is the motivational piece. Keeping interested and motivated to exercise is important. If you don’t enjoy what you’re doing, you won’t do it.
Cross training also can help you burn more calories by using different muscle groups. In addition, you can reduce the risk injury by doing a variety of exercises — participating in a high-impact activity like running one day, followed by a yoga or Pilates class the next day.
It’s simple to create a variety filled exercise program. To be successful, plan a complete workout that includes the three areas of physical activity: cardiovascular, strength and flexibility. Under each area, write down what activities you like to do or would like to try. Some activities fit under more than one area.
Cardiovascular activities include running, jumping rope, riding a bike or even walking the dog. Strength training can include everything from push-ups to lifting weights to yard work. Activities that promote flexibility include stretching or yoga.
Changing a fitness routine can be beneficial in more ways than just eliminating boredom. It can help improve your fitness level. Our bodies are adaptive and get used to an exercise. It becomes difficult to make changes in our bodies once it has adapted to a specific fitness routine. Because of this adaptive nature, it’s important to keep our bodies guessing and mixing up the exercises we perform.
How do we go about changing our workouts? Try something new. Often times we get our minds set onto what we “think” we can do and what we really could do if we only tried. If there’s a favorite exercise machine you use often and don’t want to give it up, try changing the intensity, speed or grade. By gradually changing how hard you work, you’ll keep your workout challenging and not routine. Remember, when changing up your workout routine, don’t hesitate to ask for help.
Once you choose your activities, plan them into your week. Allow for variety and flexibility. Experiment with different activities to find what really interests you. Continue to enjoy your favorite activities, but challenge yourself to try something new. Spice it up.