The Importance of Variety in Exercise
Does your exercise routine consist of one activity you do over and over again? Do you go for walks every day because that's all you seem to enjoy? Or are you doing resistance training while ignoring cardio because you just can't stand it?
Once you find that thing you enjoy, it can be easy to create your routine around that and stick to it. Any exercise is always better than no exercise, so it is great you're doing your thing. However, there are so many benefits to exercise variety and having more than just one activity on your schedule.
Let us show you how and why changing up your workouts is good for your health. Don't worry if you're struggling to figure out how to get some good workout variety in your routine. We'll also throw in some tips on how to vary up your exercise routine so you'll be changing how you workout in no time!
Why Variety Is Important
It's healthy and productive for you to have any sort of workout regime in your life. However, adding a variety of physical activities to your schedule is even more beneficial for your health. Let's take a close look at some of these benefits.
This might sound a little far-fetched, but the secret to a longer life may actually be exercise variety. A 2016 studyfollowed over 3,000 seniors for 17 years, looking at their health and exercise habits. Amazingly, the study found that the seniors who had a high variety of exercise lived longer than those who didn't. Exercise variety was even more protective against mortality than exercise frequency! Of course, it is important that you're exercising regularly — just keep in mind that variety is also important.
Be More Likely to Stick to Your Workouts
If you're the kind of person that really wants to be active but struggles to stick to a workout plan, adding variety might be your answer! Unfortunately, this is a problem faced by many, so some researchers have been looking into how to make it easier. One group came up with a potential solution. This study found that students with high workout variety were more likely to stick to new exercise plans than those with low workout variety.
It also seemed important for those students to feel like their routines were varied, whether they were or not. So, when you're deciding on your workout regime, don't just follow someone else's plan. Make sure it feels varied to you.
Don't Get Stuck With Adaptive Resistance
Doing the same movement over and over again can actually become problematic, although this is more of an issue for those of you doing resistance training. Essentially, practising the same movement will end up using the same muscle group, in the same way, every time. Over time, your body will stop responding to this movement, which is called adaptive resistance. This will oftentimes result in not really improving, but at worst, it can mean injuring yourself. Having variety in the way you move your body will prevent adaptive resistance, which means preventing injuries and seeing more progress.
Give Your Body Well-Rounded Training
Doing different activities means working out your body in different ways. Participating in many different physical activities is the best way to ensure you're giving your entire body the benefits of exercise. If you're only doing resistance training but no cardio, then you're missing out on all the benefits cardio can provide your body and your health. The same is true the other way around. Exercise variety means you're working out your whole body and being as healthy as you can.
Tips for Adding Variety to Your Exercise
Now that you know why you should have a more varying workout routine, it's time to get to the how. Some of you may find it quite easy to incorporate different exercises, but many people struggle with this. This is especially true if you're used to only doing one type of exercise, such as only doing cardio or only doing resistance training. However, variety seems to be the key to a thriving life, so we're going to give you some tips on how to change up your routine in a way that works for you!
Exercise Variations for Resistance Training
If the bulk of your workout consists of resistance training, then you may want to consider varying the actual movements you're doing for each muscle group. As mentioned previously, this will help prevent adaptive resistance. However, too much variance also isn't helpful. You should aim for two to three different moves for each of your muscle groups when you're doing your sets.
It can also help to change up how you're doing your sets. For example, you could try out pyramid sets, which increase the weight while decreasing the reps in between rests.
Try All the New Things!
If you don't have many physical activities coming to mind when trying to think of what to add to your schedule, then you should definitely spend some time trying out new activities. There are so many fun ways to stay active that lots of people don't know about. It can be an adventure to try and find some of these activities you can connect with. To start, you can try out some of these different types of exercises.
Here are some cardio workouts you might find enjoyable:
- Dance - There are so many different types of dance for you to explore, all of which are great forms of exercise.
- Hiking - Get fit while enjoying the sights, sounds, and smells of nature.
- Hula hooping - Get an adult-sized hula hoop and learn a bunch of cool tricks while working out.
- Canoeing or kayaking - Enjoy some peaceful time on the water while you get your heart racing.
Here are some strength workouts to try:
- Bodyweight workouts - Don't want to go to the gym? Workout for free at home using your own bodyweight to train your muscles.
- Aerial arts - Train your body to hold you up in the air as you pull off crazy and beautiful poses.
- Rock climbing and bouldering - Have fun climbing to great heights while building up your muscles.
- Pole fitness - Increase both your strength and flexibility as you learn to pull off impressive and stunning moves and tricks.
Make a Schedule
Once you've picked out some activities you want to try, actually make a schedule that incorporates them. If you're only choosing your workout when it's time for you to do so, you're far more likely to fall back to good ol' reliable. Making a schedule that includes all of the different activities you're doing will help ensure you're actually changing up what you're doing and therefore getting the variety you need.
Make Your Daily Life More Active
Can't think of any activities you want to add to your schedule right away? No worries! There are plenty of ways you can make your daily life slightly more active. That way, you can add variety to your routine while also just being more active more often.
We all know that you can start walking to work and taking the stairs when you get there, but what about at home? Consider walking around while you're talking on the phone. Take more than one trip to bring your groceries in the house rather than carrying in all the bags at once. You can even watch TV while standing instead of sitting down the whole time.
Try wearing some comfortable workout gear throughout the day and you'll be ready to get active or even just to stretch on your floor whenever you feel like you need it.
Get to Changing Up Your Routine
Variety doesn't happen on its own, but it is important to incorporate it into your life. Having a mix of activities is beneficial for your health, your fitness progress, and your desire to exercise.
Let yourself thrive by trying lots of different activities! Find the ones you enjoy and add them to your schedule. Go out and try something new today, and get to work on elevating your fitness routine.