February Fit Tip #8: Mix it up

Variety is the spice of life, and mixing up your exercise routine can go a long way in making fitness more fun, habit-forming and effective. In addition to the psychological benefits, there are physical ones as well. For example, if you run five miles, five days a week for a year, your body adjusts and becomes more effective at this activity. As a result, you don’t need to recruit as many muscles or burn as many calories to perform the same activity.

The same is true with a weight training program. If you use the same machines and lift identical dumbbells each time you visit the gym, your muscles do not reap the same benefit as if you alternate equipment and/or programs. While in some ways you might perceive repetition as a good thing (e.g., less pain), the bad news is that you’re not burning as many calories or challenging your muscles as much as you could be. Little tweaks in the routine can have a big impact in keeping your body (and mind!) less bored and more engaged. So mix it up, and your body will appreciate it.

Move #8: As you schedule your workouts, make sure you change the pace during the course of the week. Not just the running pace, but all of your activities in the docket!

Melinda Hinson