Why Should I Vary My Exercise?
With any regular exercise, our bodies become efficient at performing the task you’re requiring. The more you do something, the easier it gets (which is ideal sometimes: take distance running as an example), but efficiency equals adaptation, and depending on what your goals are, changing up your workouts can:
-improve your strength training
-help you burn more calories
-keep things from being boring
So how to keep things spicy in your exercise routine? Think of the FITT principle: F.I.T.T.= Frequency, Intensity, Time, Type of exercise. Try changing one aspect at a time and see how your body responds.
For newer exercises, give yourself 2-3 weeks to make neuromuscular adaptations (let your brain learn), then stick with simpler exercises (think bicep curls) for a few more weeks until your body has adapted. More complex, whole-body movements may take longer to finesse and perform correctly, and could be performed for a few months before switching up the routine.
If you’re a runner, try a barre or total body fitness class once a week. If you strength train, get into a yoga class once a week, or find a good video online. Try microprogressions: cycle through different kinds of planks, or walk slow and steady one day and do intervals the next time.
In running or cycling, add intervals, or hill repeats, or a trail. Skip, hop, and side shuffle for fartleks! (never forget to move sideways.-the neglected plane of movement!)
Remember to recover! Take an easier week every three to four weeks. Remember, ultimately exercise should be a beneficial and healthy part of your life, and leave you feeling better, more energetic, and stronger. If not, then it might be time to take a look at your mechanics, alignment, your overall stress levels, or motivation!
I’ll cover the mental/biochemical benefits of exercise next time…