If you work out regularly, it's easy to fall into the habit of doing the same set of exercises all the time. Unfortunately, research has shown that when your body performs the same exercises repeatedly, your muscles adjust over time to make those exercises easier. While this might make your workout feel more comfortable, this comfort comes at cost. Eventually, your workouts won't offer your body as much of a challenge.
Why does this happen? It is reported that your body's muscular systems and other physiological systems adapt to a workout routine in only six to eight weeks. That means that if you don't change up your routine, you'll reach a plateau in your fitness level.
If you're dedicated to maintaining a healthy exercise regimen, it's important to diversify your workouts with new activities. A great way to accomplish this is to make sure that your physical activity covers the five main elements of fitness: aerobic exercise, strength training, flexibility, core exercise, and balance training.
Aerobic or cardiovascular exercise is often what first comes to mind when you think about working out. It includes any type of endurance activity that increases your heart rate, uses large muscle groups, causes you to breathe faster, and maximizes the oxygen level in your blood.
You have any number of aerobic exercises to choose from, including walking, jogging, biking, skipping, swimming, aerobics, dancing, and more. Remember, it's important to keep changing up the type of exercise. If you always do the same aerobic workout in the same way, you'll reach a fitness plateau in two months or less.
To avoid this issue, try to vary the pace, distance, and intensity of your workouts. For example, instead of doing the same two- kilometer walk every day, try fifteen minutes of jogging on some days. . Then, add in a day of biking, or switch to swimming for a week. You can also mix easy days with hard days to vary the effort you put into your exercise.
When it comes to strength training, you'll find it hard to keep building muscle if you don't add variety. This is because resistance exercises like strength training require the administration of a stimulus (i.e. the weight), followed by your muscles' adaptation to that stimulus. Your muscles will only continue to strengthen if you continue to introduce a new stimulus that is progressively more challenging.
Fortunately, it's easy to add variety to your strength training workouts. Try to incorporate different types of exercise, from resistance machines at the gym to free or handheld weights. You can also incorporate push-ups, pull-ups, and sit-ups, which require you to lift your own body weight.
Stretching and flexibility exercises are a cornerstone of complete fitness. When you lack flexibility, your movements are more limited. In turn, this causes your muscles to weaken. Taking time to improve your flexibility will help your muscles and joints move through a full range of motion.
The best way to maintain your flexibility is to include a stretching routine in your workouts at least three times each week. You have tons of options when it comes to stretching and flexibility exercises. To keep your workouts varied, you might try alternating between different stretching exercises practiced in yoga, which feature strong flexibility components. You can also work independently to stretch each major muscle group, including your arms, legs, back, shoulders, and neck.
If your workouts focus mainly on aerobic exercise and strength training, then you're not getting a balanced workout. Core exercises - which work the muscles in your stomach, pelvis, and lower back - are also crucial to good fitness.
The key to core exercises is to use the abdominal muscles and trunk of your body without added support. And, to keep your core muscles strong, it's important to vary your workouts, just as you do with other types of training.
Consider crunches (sit-ups), yoga, or weight machines that target core muscles. You might also enjoy abdominal exercises using a fitness ball as a bouncy alternative.
Balance is a component of fitness that tends to be overlooked. But as you age, proper balance becomes increasingly important to a well-rounded fitness program. Without good balance, you're more likely to fall or become injured, which could put all of your other exercise plans on hold.
There are a number of activities you can practice to improve your balance. Yoga is a popular option, and a great way to work out in a group setting. But it's also possible to practice balance on your own. Simple exercises such as standing on one leg for an extended period of time, and then switching to the other leg, can help improve your stability.
Put It in Practice: Keep Things Spicy
The best way to avoid a fitness plateau is to vary your workout routine continuously, being sure to include all five elements of fitness. Examine your most recent workouts and consider if any of the five elements are lacking. Then, diversify your workout by adding new activities that target the elements of fitness you need. For example, if you've only been going to aerobics classes, try adding weight training or make time for a yoga class. By adding variety to your workouts, you will keep yourself engaged and see the benefits in your healthy body.