The best exercise program [for you] is the one you’re not on. —Coach Mike Boyle
General consensus is that people don’t like change. However, when it comes to how our bodies react to change in our exercise routine, it turns out that a little change can go a long way. This summer, I have focused my training on a couple of long-endurance events. Now that those events are over, I am excited to literally “switch gears”, and focus on more strength and speed for my new training program. Research shows that this will be a welcome and beneficial change for both body and mind.
There are two populations who can especially benefit from a change in an exercise routine: 1) Persons who don’t exercise regularly, and begin to exercise, and 2) those people who have a regular exercise routine, and seldom (or never) change it. Let’s look at both.
No Exercise to Exercise
If you don’t exercise regularly, the great news for you is that almost anything you do will have positive health effects when it comes to activity. The key is to move more, and move in a variety of ways! Here’s two examples from research suggesting big differences between those who did not exercise or exercised little, compared to those who exercised just a bit more:
- Pronk, et al. (1999), Adults aged 40+ with 1 day of activity per week had health care costs 4.7% lower than those with zero days of activity.
- Marinson, et al. (2003), Adults aged 50+ who increased activity from “0-1 days per week” to “3 or more days per week” had reductions of $2202 in average annual medical charges when compared with those who remained inactive.
Same routine to new routine
There’s no doubt that exercise is beneficial to overall health and well-being, but if we seldom change our routines, our bodies will adapt to the routine, and without changes we will begin to see diminishing returns. Adding variety to our exercise continually challenges our bodies and minds, and keeps those positive adaptations coming. Here are some ideas on how to change things up if you’re stuck in an exercise rut:
- Learn/try a new exercise or type of exercise (watch for our “Exercise of the Week” videos!)
- Go to a new Group Fitness Class
- Change the intensity of your exercise (Read this post about Intensity)
- Participate in the September Challenge of the Month!
- Exercise with a partner
Finally, I’ll leave you with a list of 10 positive changes that are made when we move with purpose and challenge the amazing, versatile machine that is our body!
- Increased Metabolism
- Greater energy
- Lower Stress Levels
- Decreased risk of cardiovascular disease, heart attack, stroke, and Type 2 diabetes
- Increased strength (with resistance training)
- Improvement in body composition: i.e. more lean muscle/less fat
- Increase in bone mineral density
- Increase in aerobic capacity (VO2) with cardio training
- Increased insulin sensitivity
- Improved Self-esteem: look, feel, & move better!
You see, change doesn’t have always have to be bad!