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Beat Exercise Boredom

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Updated July 13, 2005

The other day, I went to the gym for my usual Monday workout--a run on the treadmill. I got on the treadmill, put on my headphones and suddenly realized I was completely bored. Has that ever happened to you? If so, it's probably time to shake things up a bit. We all get into workout routines and that's usually a good thing...routines keep us on track and help us stay committed to exercise. But doing the same thing for too long can lead to boredom, burnout and, for some, quitting exercise altogether. If you're bored with the usual, it's time to reinvigorate your workouts.

Invigorating Cardio

If you've been doing the same cardio workouts for a while, isn't it time to try something new? We often get attached to our cardio workout, afraid that doing something new won't burn as many calories. But, even if that's true, it's worth it if it keeps you motivated. Try these ideas:

  • Try something new. Challenge yourself by using a cardio machine you've never tried before (like the rowing machine or the versaclimber).
  • Do a rotation. Once a week, use every cardio machine in the gym for a little cardio medley. You'll get a great workout and have a little fun.
  • Add intensity. Add high intensity intervals to your workouts or shorten your usual workout and work harder. Sometimes just changing the duration/intensity of your workout makes it feel fresh.
  • Take a class. If you never take group fitness classes, pick up a schedule and try one class each month. You might like it!
  • Try videos. If you don't exercise at home, you're missing out on a wealth of workouts. Visit Collage Video and choose something you've always wanted to try. It's a small investment and could open the door to a new way to exercise.
  • Make your own workout. This is one of my favorite things to do when I'm bored with the usual. Put on some music, slap on your shoes and do your own thing--dance, run around the house, do jumping jacks...anything that gets your heart going.
  • Try this new Cardio Blast Workout for a killer cardio workout at home...no equipment needed.

    Liven Up Your Strength Training

    If you're in a strength training rut, use these ideas to change your routine and keep things a little more exciting:

  • Change your resistance. We all have our favorite things--machines, free weights or the cables. If you tend to stick with one type of resistance, do something different. Try resistance bands or use the cable machine. It's amazing how different an exercise feels when you change the resistance.
  • Add new moves to your routine. Do a little research (on the Internet or at the bookstore) and find new moves or variations you've never seen before. Or try these ideas for something new and fresh.
  • Change your focus. If you usually lift heavy for less reps, try increasing the reps and lowering your weight for more endurance training. If you never lift heavy, give it a try. The change will do your mind and body good.
  • Take a fitness assessment. Visit this site for some fitness tests you can do at home. Record your results and take the tests again in a month to see if you've improved.
  • Break the rules. You may follow the typical strength routine of starting with big muscle groups and working your way down. Breaking the rules can be a good thing--it teaches you about your own body and what it likes or doesn't like. Change your workouts by starting from the last exercise and going backwards. Start with a different exercise or muscle group or change the rest between sets. See how your body responds to these changes...you may just find something that works better than what you normally do.

    Keep Your Flexibility Training Fresh

    I tend to do the same old thing when it comes to stretching after my workouts. There's nothing wrong with that, but it gets boring when you don't try new things and, for many of us, stretching isn't something we spend much time on anyway. There are lots of ways to freshen up your stretching:

  • Try a stretching video. Karen Voight and Cathe Friedrich are just two video instructors who offer some great stretching videos with innovative ideas for how to stretch in different ways.
  • Use the stretching machines. If your gym has a Precor stretching machine, give it a try. You can get some great stretches by having some support for your body.
  • Try this relaxing stretch/yoga routine which uses an exercise ball for variety. Do it on it's own for a gentle workout or try it after your usual workouts. You'll be glad you did!

    Keeping things fresh and new is essential for your mind and for your body. It's easy to get attached to doing the same workouts day after day, but being willing to try new things is the only way to keep your body challenged and your mind excited about exercise. Plus, you never know what you'll discover about yourself when you try something new.

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