5 Great Ways to Spice up Your Workouts
Getting and keeping people moving and motivated is a shared goal, not just among gym owners, but also among doctors, physical therapists, rehabilitation experts and other medical professionals. These experts in the field understand that to many people, exercise can become boring, so they have come up with a number of suggestions on how to “spice up” the workout regimen and keep people moving.
Make it fun
“Fitness doesn't have to be drudgery,” say the experts at the Mayo Clinic. One of the best ways to get started or keep up an exercise routine is to make it fun, and there are few better ways to do that than by joining a sports team or enrolling in a class. Many gyms, fitness centers or community centers have basketball, volleyball, softball, ping pong, cycling or other teams looking for members. Most also offer classes in Tai Chi, Zumba, yoga, nature walking or some other kind of movement-oriented group exercise. Still others that have pools usually also offer a variety of water sports, swim classes and other pool-based group activities. Ballroom dance classes also count as exercise, as does instruction in the martial arts, fencing, or anything else that puts a smile on the face and keeps the body moving.
Doing the same routine over and over, day after day, can get boring. Even worse, it can make exercising seem like a chore – or a punishment. To keep exercising, “add variety to your workout,” suggests Mayo Clinic. Cross-training or any routine that involves “doing a variety of different exercises or activities, is a good way to keep exercise boredom at bay,” say the Mayo Clinic experts. While aerobic exercises should comprise the largest portion of your workout, to keep yourself going, be sure to add some of your favorite exercises and activities into the mix.
Make it social
One of the best ways to keep up an exercise routine is to make it social, say the fitness advisors at the National Institute on Aging (NIA). Ask a partner, family member or friend to be your workout buddy, or put together a group and set regular times to do whichever activity you decide upon. This could be something as simple as talking a walk in the park every Thursday to something more challenging like trail running. Going it alone can be tedious, but by making it a social activity exercise becomes more fun - and in this way, it can even help you make new friends.
Make an 'exercise buddy agreement'
While joining a team or group or finding a workout buddy is a great way to keep exercising, NIA suggests taking it a step further by creating an "exercise buddy agreement." This means setting a series of short-term goals and sharing in your success by setting up a reward when the goals are met. That reward can be any kind of special treat, such as going together to the movies, the theater, a sporting event, a museum or some other destination, like the beach. Each buddy pushes the other, but also helps the other to reach a goal, and then when they both succeed, set another one. The NIA even offers a PDF file on sample buddy agreements for those who want to put their pledge in writing, which the experts say is “a great way to stay on track.”
Making exercise a game is something that gym teachers have long used to get students moving, but now with the advent of electronic gaming platforms like the Xbox, Wii U, Playstation and other systems, anyone can make their exercise routine a game. Experts in rehabilitation and physical therapy at the National Center for Biotechnology Information have been working on incorporating video games into exercise routines for their patients. These game companies have in turn developed games that allow players to doing everything from play virtual tennis to dance in a virtual disco to compete on a virtual stage.