Are you a creature of habit? If so, you're not alone. When it comes to exercise, many of us head for the same class at the gym, log the same workout on the elliptical, and run the same route every time we go out. While regular exercise is good for you, it’s also important to vary your fitness routine. Both your body and brain will reap benefits when you try new activities; it’s the key to stimulating different muscle groups and preventing boredom.
Here are a few benefits that come with mixing up your exercise routine.
Break Through Plateaus
When you do the same activity all the time, your body gets used to it and becomes very efficient. Eventually, that adaptation will mean you burn fewer calories even when you’re doing the same amount of exercise. If you challenge your body in a way that it’s not used to your body will have to work harder as it adjusts to the new activity, which means that you’ll burn more calories.
There’s a reason why you get hurt when you put your body through the same motions over and over again. This type of injury often occurs from doing lots of repetitive motions, such as running, hitting a tennis ball, kicking (in kickboxing or martial arts classes), etc. By mixing things up, you give those overused muscles, joints, and ligaments a chance to rest and recover before putting them into action again.
Build New Muscles
For most people, the best approach in exercise is to do a little of everything. This approach helps you to build a strong heart (for endurance), muscular legs, and a powerful upper body. You’ll look great and be physically ready to take on a variety of sports and activities.
If you find yourself literally counting down the seconds left in your elliptical workout or can hardly stand the sight of the same streets as you run down them, it’s time to switch up your routine. Keep your workouts from getting stale by constantly trying new things. At Evolve Fitness Studios we offer more than 80 classes each week so there are plenty to choose from so you can have a total change of pace.
Meet New Workout Partners
One of the best ways to stay engaged with exercise and committed to a regular schedule of activity is to find people you want to work out with. Join a running group, try a Pilates or Broga class with a friend, or bring a friend to join you for personal training as a duo.
Keep Your Brain Healthy
Exercise is essential for keeping your brain sharp and helping to prevent memory loss. Learning new skills also helps keep your neurons in better shape. When you learn a new exercise activity, it's a win-win for your body and your brain. The key is to choose activities that keep you engaged; don’t pick things that you can do like a braindead zombie. You don’t need to overexert yourself to reap the benefits of exercise for your brain and memory, but you should exercise regularly. Research shows that when you are active you have a lower risk for diabetes, high cholesterol, hypertension, and stroke, all of which can affect memory.
Get Excited About Exercise, Again!
When you start feeling dread rather than enthusiasm for working out, it's time to switch things up. It might take a little sampling of different activities before you find the right mix that works for you, but stick with it and you'll find something you enjoy. Just make sure you include several different types of activities each week and swap out something new every once in a while to keep your routine fresh.
by Skye Nacel, Certified Personal Trainer (MovNat Level 2), Certified Broga Instructor
Happy New Year everyone! And you know what that means right?! A barrage of New Year's Resolutions bombarding our lives — from coworkers talking to social media feeds and everything in between. But you did get the memo right? ...The one about resolutions waning and failing? ...The one showing statistics citing less than 10% of those promises were kept by years end with 80% failing by February? But why? Is there any hope? What's the deal?!
Here are 3 ideas to help you embark on your New Year's Revolution.
1. No Zero to Hero
Losing 50 pounds off the couch in 3 months, qualifying for the Boston marathon despite not being a runner, or quitting smoking or sugar or alcohol cold turkey without a real plan, the list goes on. It is great to dream big but think about making smaller, more bite sized, realistic goals that allow your physiology to adapt, setting you up for longer-term success. Build new habits that become interspersed with your day-to-day life. Famous Kettlebell Coach and legend Pavel T used the term, "Grease the Groove" to describe his formula for building strength. Pavel recognized that strength is a skill and therefore must be practiced to produce neurological adaptations. You need to practice your habits as skills so your body makes permanent changes. All of these smaller changes, practiced regularly, can equal some massive long-term changes. As Will Durant said, "We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence is not an act, but a habit.”
2. Buddy Up
We are social animals. We thrive around tribe and community and the energy of others. So, before embarking on your Revolution this year, assemble a team and prepare to have each others' backs and build accountability. The South African term 'Ubuntu' has many meanings but one that is very important is "a person is a person through other people", which means I am strong because we are strong. And by this, I truly mean buddy up...in person. We are human and we need real connection — not just via social media. Social media may be one small part of this connection, but it would be a mistake to make it the sole way to bond with someone. If you can't high five it, then it's not real!
Keep it simple...you know the rest and no, I didn't just call you stupid! Kind of like #1 above, we need to make this stick and the more streamlined we can be, the better chance we have of success. Keeping it simple doesn't just mean with choosing your goals, but also in your approach. Set yourself up for changes that stick by simplifying the process and paring down the distractions and barriers that may get in your way. Simple doesn't mean small or weak, it just means refined and stripped to the bare elements that allow for a concise plan of attack. Remember as Albert Einstein once said, "Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler."
4. Action Jackson
Having a plan is key and some studies have backed up the importance of physically writing our progress and dedicating time to the process. It may be easy to just 'wing it' for some people, but in reality, writing down our goals is more effective. In a study by Dr. Gail Matthews, a psychology professor at Dominican University in California, gathered 267 people together — men and women from all over the world, and from all walks of life, including entrepreneurs, educators, healthcare professionals, artists, lawyers and bankers. She divided the participants into groups, according to who wrote down their goals and dreams, and who didn’t. She found that you become 42% more likely to achieve your goals and dreams, simply by writing them down on a regular basis. This was attributed to, again, the brain and the importance of connection between the left and right hemispheres. So write that $%^ down!!
So, here you go — as promised — a few ideas to help you really spark a Revolution in YOU by achieving, not just dreaming. The work and dedication is up to you (and your tribe) so get out there and make it happen and make 2018 your best year yet!
Evolve Fitness Studios
Check out posts from our trainers, our favorite healthy recipes, tips for staying motivated and more!