Want to lower your risk of developing heart disease, Alzheimer’s, cancer, diabetes, and countless other disease and conditions? You might be surprised at how simple the solution is . . . exercise!
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend adults get around 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise each day (at least 5 days a week) to achieve it’s most beneficial results including disease prevention and weight management. For many adults, accomplishing daily exercise means sticking to a routine of going to the gym regularly. But what do you do if your fitness routine as become more of a fitness rut?
While sticking to the tried and true may seem like your best bet for success, you may feel less and less motivated with each day to stick with the same old routine. Don’t miss these 9 fun and creative ways to spice things up and transform your day to day workouts for the better:
Try a New Class
Want to add a little flare to your workout life? Think about trying a new class. Even if you only do yoga, there are tons of different styles of yoga that may add the variety you’re looking for in your exercise routine. Do you typically just stick with running? Cross-train with a lower-impact sport like rowing, swimming, or biking to keep honing key muscle groups but experience something new. Online services like ClassPass and CourseHorse help you find gym and boutique studio classes near you from all types of sports and exercise activities.
Invite a Friend
Turn your hum-drum workout plans into a fun date with a friend! Ask a pal to join you for your next spin, yoga, or zumba class and plan for dinner or drinks afterwards. Introducing a social aspect to your workout routine reinforces your desire to stick with exercising and also holds you accountable to more than just yourself. Can’t line up your schedules for the same classes? Don’t worry. Live stream free instructional workout videos, like yoga or HIIT, from the comfort of your own home and invite your friend over to join you!
Take your physical fitness out of the gym and into nature! Outdoor activities like hiking, paddle boarding, and kayaking are just as effective in exercising your heart, muscles and bones, and the added bonus of sunlight gives your body the Vitamin D it needs to help keep you healthy. Walking through nature has also been shown in multiple studies to help foster feelings of positivity and attentiveness (versus walking through an urban environment).
How’s your post-workout recovery routine looking? If you’re not packing in the hydration and refueling after an intense exercise session, you might be stripping yourself of all the benefits your workout could really offer you. Loading up on protein and healthy carbs after a workout generates vital nutrients to aid muscle repair and growth – milk, protein shakes, lean meats, chia and flax seeds, and whole grains are a great place to start.
Workout When You’re Not Working Out
Make what you do in the gym even more meaningful by amping up calorie burning activities outside the gym. This can include taking the stairs at work instead of the elevator, loading up on healthier snacks and meals in the office, or biking to work instead of driving. The extra bits of effort you put in during your ‘off hours’ may mean bigger gains and more endurance when you do hit the gym.
Set a Goal
Feeling like you’re just working out because you’re used to it and it helps you stay in shape? While maintaining a healthy weight and strength is definitely important, setting a new inspired goal may help you take your training to the next level. Maybe it’s signing up to run in a charity 5K, trying out for American Ninja Warrior, or mastering a new skill like swimming or rowing. Setting goals helps you find motivation and learn new skills and techniques that can benefit your routine exercise.
Finally Ditch the Pain
Is chronic back, knee, or leg pain keeping you doing some workout moves over and over and avoiding others altogether? While some acute aches and pains naturally accompany working out and staying active, others can be more serious like Achilles tendonitis or IT band syndrome (click for more information). Those aches and pains which prevent you from exercising your full range of motion or which last more than a few weeks should be checked out by a doctor. You may find that what you’re experiencing is totally treatable with natural remedies and things like rest, ice therapy, and stretching.
Track Your Progress
Tracking your fitness progress plays an important role in helping you reach your goals. For some this might mean recording daily calorie intake and burn, for others it could simply mean tracking how many steps you complete each day. Either way, chances are there is a digital solution to help you monitor your progress. Wearable fitness technology like Bellabeat and FitBit are trending as go-to exercise motivators, while loads of apps like MyFitnessPal, help you stay on top of your workouts from the convenience of your mobile devices.
A large component of what has made workout classes like SoulCycle so successful is the incorporation of mindfulness and meditation. While intensifying your workout with more reps, longer sessions, and heavier weights may benefit your heart, muscles and bones, how does your mind become part of the picture? Zeroing in on self-awareness and recognizing the mind-body connection can enhance your workout as well as your moods and outlook on life.
Exercise is most effective of course when combined with healthy habits like eating a diet rich with fruits, vegetables, lean meats, and whole grains. Not only will regular fitness benefit your physical physique and mental outlook now, but it will continue to pay off the further you keep up with it as you age. Older adults who exercise regularly are more likely to live longer and remain mobile and independent.