Reinvent your workouts: How adjusting your routine can take your fitness journey to new heights
As the new year approaches, many people are thinking about their resolutions. For a lot of us, that means focusing on health and fitness. Whether you're a runner, a yogi, a weightlifter or someone who loves group exercise classes, it's important to mix up your routine and try new things to keep your body challenged and engaged.
With its focus on new beginnings and fresh starts, the new year is a great time to shake up your go-to workouts. January also is a good time to change since many gyms and fitness studios offer promotions and discounts on classes and memberships. This can make it easier and more affordable to try new classes and programs.
Why change your exercise routine?
Changing up your exercise routine has many mental and physical benefits, including:
- Keeping things interesting. If you get bored doing the same workout day after day, you might not stick with your routine. Adding new exercises can keep you motivated and ensure you continue to see progress on your fitness journey.
- Avoiding plateaus. When you do the same exercises repeatedly, your body becomes used to them and stops responding as well. By changing up your routine, you can challenge your body in new ways and see better results.
- Preventing injuries. Engaging in repetitive exercises strains the same set of muscles and joints. By incorporating new exercises and movements, as well as stretching, you can reduce the risk of overuse injuries.
New year, new routine
It may be daunting to try something different, especially if you love your current workout schedule. But here are some ideas for new workouts to try in the coming year, no matter what your preferred form of exercise is.
If you run
For runners, the key to changing up your routine is to focus on different types of runs. If you typically do a steady-state jog around your neighborhood, try incorporating interval training into your routine. This can mean doing short bursts of high-intensity running followed by periods of active recovery, or it can mean doing hill repeats—a type of running workout that involves sprinting up a steep hill and then jogging or walking back down—to build strength and endurance. Another option is trail running, which gets you out in nature and adds an extra challenge to your workout.
If you lift weights
For those who love strength training, there are endless possibilities for new exercises to incorporate into your routine. If you usually focus on traditional weightlifting exercises like squats, deadlifts and bench press, consider branching out into more functional movements like kettlebell swings, Turkish get-ups, and farmer's walks. These exercises will challenge your body in new ways and help you build strength that translates to real-life activities like carrying groceries or lifting a heavy suitcase. If you need inspiration, spend some time on social media or YouTube to learn new moves, safely.
If you’re into cardio
On the other hand, if you're only doing cardio, it's time to add some strength training to your routine. Not only does strength training help you build muscle and increase your metabolism, but it also helps improve your overall health and reduces your risk of injury. For women, it’s also a great way to strengthen bones and reduce your chances of osteoporosis.
If you’re a yoga enthusiast
Yoga practitioners can benefit from trying new styles of yoga or incorporating different types of movement. If you normally enjoy a gentle flow or restorative yoga, consider trying a more vigorous vinyasa class or a power yoga session. Alternatively, you could try adding in some strength training movements like lunges, push-ups or planks to challenge your muscles in a new way while still getting all the benefits of yoga.
If you prefer classes
Finally, for those who love group exercise classes, there are always new options popping up at gyms and studios around the country. If you always do spin classes, try a dance-based cardio class or a high-intensity circuit class. If you love barre classes, try a Pilates reformer class or a TRX suspension training session. By mixing up your classes, you'll challenge your body in new ways and avoid hitting a plateau in your fitness progress.
Fine-tune your exercise and training
What if you’re not bored with your current workout and it’s giving you the results you want? There are still ways to mix it up without totally transforming your routine.
Change the intensity or duration of your workouts
If you're doing the same amount of cardio or strength training every week, try upping the intensity or duration of your workouts. If you usually run for 30 minutes, add intervals or increase your speed. If you usually lift weights for an hour, try reducing the rest time between sets or increasing the weight.
If you're always working out in a gym, try exercising in nature. This can be a refreshing change of pace and can help you feel more connected to the world around you. You may be able to do your regular routine outside, or you can go for a hike, take a yoga class in the park or even just go for a walk or run outside.
Find a gym or workout buddy
Working out with a friend or family member can be a great way to mix things up and stay motivated. Not only does having a workout buddy make exercising more fun, but it can also help you push yourself harder and stay accountable.
No matter what form of exercise you prefer, remember that the key to making progress and staying motivated is to constantly challenge yourself and try new things. And as we enter a new year, there's no better time to take control of your health and start living your best life. Be sure to talk to your doctor before you begin or modify an exercise program.
Don't be afraid to step outside your comfort zone and try something new—you might just discover a new love for a different type of workout. Happy new year, and happy sweating!
Looking for a place to work out? Find a Baylor Scott & White Health fitness or wellness center near you.
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