Let’s be honest: most of us hate working out, however fun it claims to be. Yes, even something fun like Zumba can be exhausting. And that’s probably why, when you find a routine that’s easy-ish and works for you, you stick to it for months on end. But whether you’re huffing and puffing at the weight rack or jogging slowly down a grassy path, any exercise routine can get a little monotonous — especially if it hasn’t changed much since you began. Sure, you’ve toned up and gained stamina, but has it really changed your life? Probably not as much as it could’ve if you’d switched things up regularly. Besides, a new workout just gives you another excuse to add more athleisure to your wardrobe — and that’s never a bad thing!
So, should you be mixing it up for your muscles? Well, yes and no. There are great reasons to stick to what you’ve been doing, especially if it’s working, and there are just as many reasons to try something new. Finding a regime that you can easily follow is as compelling a motivator as wanting to get over a weight-loss plateau. But here’s why adding a little freshness to your fitness is a good thing:
Target Different Muscle Groups
Let’s say you’re a regular runner — you’re getting your cardio in, burning off last night’s pizza, and chiseling your calves like no one else. But what about your arms? Sometimes, the exercises we love the most can favor some muscle groups over others, making your routine less than ideal. That doesn’t mean you need to give up running entirely — just add something new to your regime. Maybe throw in a quick tabata session on the lawn or sign up for a piloxing class, even just once or twice a week, to challenge muscles you don’t use that often.
Give Yourself a Challenge
Maybe you’re fine with just cardio and calves, and you don’t really need arms like Arnie. So why bother changing your routine? Well, just like our brains (and us), our muscles can get a little too comfortable if there’s too much of the same thing. Sometimes, it helps to shake things up and ask your body to rise to the challenge. After all, you’re probably much fitter now than you were a year ago — simply because you didn’t get stuck in a rut. So if you’ve been dreading that free yoga session you have a pass to, now’s the time to push yourself and try it! Your body (and brain) will be glad you did.
Avoid Strain and Injury
It’s no secret that performing one (stressful) action over and over will cause you trouble — and it’s the same thing with exercise. After a certain point, your muscles or joints might start to buckle under pressure and can end up causing a sprain (or worse). Does that mean you don’t ever push yourself? Hardly! But there’s multiple ways to exercise the same muscles without straining yourself too much. Even something as simple as swapping aerobics for water aerobics will do the trick — and you get to try something new while you’re at it.
Push Past Your Comfort Zone
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Trying a new routine will allow you to push the boundaries of your comfort zone, meet new people, and maybe even help you discover a brand-new passion. But how do you know whether to refresh or repeat? For starters, you can rely on the FITT principle, which says that you need to change your Frequency, Intensity, Time, or Type every four to six weeks, two at a time. So try to remember the last time you lifted heavier weights or tried a new routine. If it’s been longer than a month, it’s time for something new. It doesn’t have to be purely results-oriented though. You might just be getting bored with your current routine or in the mood for new goals to reach — either way, change can be your friend.
Find the Right Gear
Ultimately, a workout is like a wardrobe — the classics are great, but you need a trendy piece now and then to jazz up your style. And there’s nothing wrong with changing it every season. In fact, it seems like that’s exactly where fitness is heading, what with group classes, single-class subscription services, and events like Jockey’s Morning Fitness Party. Really, with so many options to choose from, it’s almost a shame to head to the same gym every day to lift the same weights. After all, it’s never too late to shake up your fitness routine!