5 ways to break out of an exercise rut
We all know how important it is to exercise regularly. It can lower your risk for disease, keep you strong, and even help you live longer.
But if your gym routine becomes too routine and boring, there’s a good chance you’ll skip it more often or even stop doing it altogether.
Even if you continue to go through the motions when you’re in a slump, you’re probably not challenging yourself or achieving your fitness goals.
If this sounds like you, you may not be getting the full physical and mental benefits that exercise can bring. Here are some easy things you can do to get inspired and make the most of your workouts again.
Variety is the spice of exercise
Doing the same thing over and over again is bound to make you feel burned out. While you may prefer certain activities over others, it’s important to mix it up and make sure your workout includes different types of exercise. While you certainly don’t have to – and may not have time to – do every kind of exercise during every workout session, be sure to alternate different kinds of exercises in your overall plan. This will keep your sessions both fresh and effective.
A little of everything can make a big difference
The general rule is to have a well-rounded regimen of:
- Cardiovascular exercise: running, walking, cycling
- Resistance training: lifting weights or using weight machines
- Flexibility work: stretching or doing exercises that involve stretching like yoga
Less can be more in the long run
To stay motivated, you need your workouts to work for you and your schedule. If you’re pressed for time or bored with something, it’s okay to focus on one type of exercise during one session and commit to something else the next time. When it comes to exercise, doing something is always better than doing nothing at all.
Give yourself a pep talk
- Remember why.
It sounds so simple, but taking the time to think about why you started exercising in the first place can actually go a long way toward inspiring you all over again. Keep these reasons in the back of your mind and think of them whenever you feel like giving up.
- Empower yourself.
No one can force you to exercise. At the end of the day, you do it because you want to and you do it for yourself. It can be very motivating to think about exercise in these terms. For instance, instead of saying, “I have to work out,” or “I should work out,” try saying, “I want to exercise,” or “I want to be stronger and healthier.”
Eat and drink your way to success
Depriving yourself of essential nutrition is never a good thing, and doing so before or after exercise is a surefire way to destroy your motivation to keep at it. After all, when you feel your best during and after workouts, you’re more likely to want to keep up the regimen.
Carb lovers rejoice – carbohydrates are important before your workout, because they help give you the boost you need to work harder and longer.
Bananas, berries, bread, crackers, and starchy vegetables are all good choices.
Don't forget to replenish
The best time for your body to absorb nutrients is 20–30 minutes after you exercise. So, treat yourself to both carbohydrates and protein to avoid a post-workout energy dip.
- Try complex carbohydrates like quinoa, nuts, and brown rice, along with lean proteins such as tofu, beans, and fish.
- Drink to your health.
Nothing zaps inspiration like dehydration. To feel your best, remember to drink water before, during, and after you exercise.
Take the pressure off
Balancing work, friends, and family can be hard, and making exercise a priority can be a real challenge. Some days, despite the best of intentions, you just won’t find the time for a formal session. But that’s okay. Exercise doesn’t have to be an intense boot camp. Remember that walking the dog, taking the stairs, or parking your car a little farther away all count toward your fitness goals.
Keep it fun
- Find a workout buddy.
Don’t sweat it out alone. Working out with a friend can be more enjoyable and may even cause you to lose track of time and work out a little longer. It has other benefits, too. Research has shown that exercising with others can actually make you feel calmer afterward.
- Don’t forget the tunes.
Your favorite music can go a long way toward making your workouts more fun. Songs you love can be very motivating – improving your mood and making you feel less tired – resulting in a longer, more pleasurable workout.
Do it for you
Regular exercise is such a key part of achieving a healthy body and mind, so don’t let it turn into a chore. Keep it fresh, mix it up, and discover that this ultimate in “me time” can be something you actually look forward to again and again.
Get more tips on how to make the most of your workouts.
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