Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Variety, One Key to Optimum Results

Although any physical activity is beneficial to your health, variety is an important component to getting maximum results from your fitness program.

Our bodies are constantly adapting to the physical stresses placed upon them– figuring out the most efficient way to perform an action. If you follow a regular strength training routine, your body will adapt to that program in approximately 4-6 weeks. Although you will still benefit from continuing with that routine, changing to a new group of exercises will challenge your muscles in new ways, speeding up your results.

Adaptation also takes place with cardiovascular exercise. I far prefer cardio intervals over steady state cardio for fat loss but I realize there are some die-hard cardio bunnies out there so...

Runners who follow the same course every run would get more effective workouts by using different routes. Cross training is also a great way to add variety to your aerobic workouts. If you’re a regular walker, you might try swimming, cross-country skiing, dancing, or biking for a change. Those of you who go to the gym and always use the same cardio machine, on the same program, for the same amount of time at the same intensity would do much better to mix it up. Use different equipment on different days or even alternate machines within one cardio workout. Varying machines can also help you avoid repetitive stress injuries.

Besides physical boredom, another important reason to spice up your fitness regimen is to avoid mental boredom. Studies have shown that people who routinely change their workout programs are more likely to exercise regularly. Yes, initially, it may take a little more thought and a little more time to learn a new activity or a new strength training program but the benefits are definitely worth it.


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