Are you finding your exercise routine a little drab or boring – not very motivating?
You need a change, a little ‘vroom’ injected into your regular exercise schedule.
Quite often, when starting out exercising, we adopt one activity and one only, that we like to do such as running or swimming. At first this produces positive changes to the body – sleeping better, having more energy, firming up around the mid-section etc.
But these changes quickly diminish and then you start feeling frustrated and anxious. Something is not quite right.
What is occurring is a fitness plateau, where your body has become accustomed to performing the same activity at the same intensity level, and never mixing up your exercise routine.
When you perform the same exercise day in day out, the body is able to ‘predict’ how much energy is required to perform that given activity.
In effect the body ‘learns’ to conserve its energy and not work any harder than it needs to.
As a result your body is no longer burning as many calories, your metabolic rate has dropped, and the body is actually conserving energy levels.
All this adds up to weight gain and a stalling in your fitness.
Variety Is The Spice of Your Fitness!
The solution to your fitness plateau is relatively easy – mix up your exercise routine.
1. Go Somewhere Different
Let’s say you like running or walking the pavement. Then try a different location such as at the beach. Running/walking on sand is an excellent way to strengthen the legs, ankles and feet, especially if doing so without shoes.
Exercising in various locations can also boost mood quality by keeping you motivated to exercise more.
* Exercise in the park, at the beach, or even in your backyard.
2. Mix Up Your Exercise Routine
We are creatures of habit but when it comes to exercise, this can work against us. To maintain fitness progressions, eventually you have to look at alternative ways to exercise.
Think outside the square. Exercise can include activities such as indoor rock climbing, mowing the lawn, playing beach volleyball with friends, going canoeing….the list is endless.
* Try exercise classes (Yoga, Pilates, aerobics, cross training classes), small group personal training sessions, join an outdoors activity group (walking or cycling club, go abseiling, bushwalking.)
3. Include Interval Training
Interval training (IT) is a very popular form of exercising because it produces fast results in a short amount of time.
IT simply means including some short burst of high intensity activity into your regular exercise. A typical example is sprinting for 30 seconds every 1-2 minutes. Repeat this pattern about 6-10 times.
IT can be applied to any exercise whether it is strength training or cardio.
* Fast walk up hills, run hard up hills, sprint on flat terrain.
* Do a combo of burpees, mountain climbs, jump squats and push ups interspersed in your strength training routine.
4. Do Mini-Workouts
If you find regular exercise is becoming a tad difficult to achieve of late, then why not go for shorter bursts of exercise more often?
Mini-workouts are achievable because it allows you to maintain your exercise routine without sacrificing too much time away from your other daily commitments.
* Do 10 minutes of body weight exercises before you leave for work in the morning.
* Do another 10 minutes exercise at lunch time.
* Finish off the day with another 10 minutes of exercise while you prepare dinner.
Mini workouts like this example can greatly assist in managing weight gain, and maintaining fitness levels.
Exercise longer on days where you have more free time such as public holidays and weekends.
Everyone sooner or later hits a fitness plateau. Improving your fitness depends on how you well you overcome these plateaus. Applying some or all of the tips suggested above, will give you the extra ‘oomph’ you need to carry on and increase your fitness.
About the author
Fiona Compston is a freelance aerobics instructor, a certified Personal Trainer, Counsellor and Remedial Massage Therapist. She is also a certified Menofitness trainer, specializing in menopause hormone enhancement for women aged 40+ and pelvic floor strengthening.
She specialises in fitness for women aged 45+, and has also trained Miss World New Zealand, Elite kiwi cyclists, rowers and hockey players.
You can also find Fiona on Facebook.