Whenever you exercise, do you always do the same thing(s)? Treadmill, Zumba, Free weights? Whatever your typical workout routine, it is important to find ways to spice up your exercise so as to really challenge your body and get the most benefit. Here are some easy things you can add or modify.
1. INTERVALS. Instead of jogging on the treadmill at 6.5 miles per hour for 30 minutes, add short amounts of fast running and then resume your jogging pace. Or instead of walking at a moderate pace for 45 minutes, walk for 5 minutes, then jog for a few minutes, then walk again. Or instead of doing free weights for your entire workout, do 5 minutes of cardio, then 5-10 minutes of weights and continue alternating. Just be sure to warm up well before you do any fast/difficult intervals.
2. VARIETY. Do you always use the same machines at the gym? In the cardio part of your gym, there are 7 types of cardio equipment: treadmill, elliptical, stair climber, upright bike, recumbent bike, arm bike, and rowing machine. Of course, there are various cardio classes and sports activities as well. If you exercise from home, do you always walk the same route or do the same exercise DVD? Instead, do exercise that will strengthen ALL your muscle groups. Don’t be afraid to try something new.
3. STRENGTH TRAINING. This can include free weights, machine weights, body weight, small dumbbells, exercise bands, kettle bells, medicine balls, etc. Strength training is just as important as cardio exercise if you are trying to lose weight. And these exercises can also get your heart pumping, which means you are still getting cardio! If you have never done this before, try a body bar/body pump class or a strength training DVD. Of course, from home you can always do things like push-ups, crunches, biceps curls, squats, etc.
4. INCREASING INTENSITY. Do not stay at the same pace for weeks-months at a time. If you presently walk at 3.0 miles per hour, you should soon be able to walk 3.5 mph. Guys who like free weights have this one down because they like to brag about how much they can bench press. If you have been in the same exercise class for the past year, you should be ready for something more challenging. Your body will plateau with the same workouts, so it needs to be challenged to further increase your strength, power, and endurance.