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Diversify your workout

by Nicole Safi | June 14, 2017
Diversify your workout

As creatures of habit, we tend to stick to what we know – especially on the gym floor. However the benefits of adding variety to your workout are countless, and will improve your health in more ways than one, writes Nicole Safi.

Prevent boredom

Nobody wants to exercise out of obligation. Beginning to dread your daily one-hour run on the treadmill or 45-minute spin class is an age-old sign you need to mix things up. Repetitive workout schedules often cause boredom, leading to compromised fitness goals and a loss of motivation. Complimenting your run with some weights training or substituting cycle class for yoga class will present new, exciting and highly beneficial challenges. Making an effort to avoid overly familiar workouts by trying something different will ensure your trip to the gym doesn’t feel like a chore but an exciting part of your day. 

Avoid Plateau

We all want to maximise our workout to ensure it’s helping us achieve our fitness goals. A repetitive fitness regime that does not incorporate variety or present us with new challenges may cause the body to hit a plateau. This means that although you’re eating well and exercising; sweating and burning calories, you are stalling on progress. For example, you will not maximise your fitness returns if you run on the treadmill every day, at the same speed and incline. Bumping up your treadmill speed every now and again, or adding some swimming or resistance training to your running routine will help your body overcome the plateau.

Promote Challenge

Shocking your body with new fitness challenges forces your body to utilise different muscle groups. Ever woken up the morning after your first boxing class or round one of your touch footy season and felt a little sore? Muscle soreness after a new fitness challenge means you have used your muscles differently or harder to what they’re used to – which is a good thing. Diversifying your workout to incorporate new exercises or movements or activities guarantees this same benefit – transforming your muscles to become stronger. Introducing variety to your workout also affords you the opportunity to cultivate new skills, meet new people and develop new passions.

Exercise your brain

Neuroplasticity refers to your brain's ability to reorganise neural pathways, and brains with more pathways have more plasticity. This helps you learn new things. Your brain enriches its network of dendrites and neural passageways every time it processes new experiences. Every time you learn something new, your brain creates neural passages to sustain that knowledge or skill, such as when you diversify your work out and try something new like a dance class.

Repair

Adding variety to your workout allows your body to recuperate. For instance, while the health benefits of high-intensity training are well-known, engaging in this kind of exercise for one-hour, six to seven days each week could begin to take a negative toll on your body. It is essential your muscles are given time to repair by adding different, lower-intensity exercises to the mix like a light jog or swimming.

It is also important to listen to your body to avoid overtraining. Take a break and allow your body some time to recoup – that way, you’ll avoid plateauing and ensure you get the most out of your workout next time you hit the gym. These strategies combined will reduce the risk of injury and expand your fitness horizons.

If you’re ready to face a new fitness challenge or are bored with your current exercise regime, the next time you’re at the gym, try something different. Enjoy the benefits of diversifying your workout. 

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