Switch it up!

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MOVING our bodies is very important, not just from a physical standpoint but also where mental health is concerned.

Numerous studies show that continuous inactivity creates physiological conditions that may produce chronic diseases like heart disease and type 2 diabetes, and a host of other diseases. So, making the time to move and keep moving is important!

Whether we go to the gym, walk the dog, tend the garden, or go to a weekly dance class, we should keep active.

But, as creatures of habit, a lot of us like to work around what is comfortable. We will stick to the exercises and machines that we have been using for years, failing to realise that we might have put our fitness journey on pause.

When you do the same exercises repeatedly, the body adapts quickly and always tries to be more efficient. In fact, your physiological systems can adapt to a workout routine in as little as six to eight weeks, causing a fitness level plateau.

The solution: Mix up your workout!

 

Why should you switch it up?

To keep your fitness journey healthy and challenging, diversifying your workouts is a must.

“Variety is the spice of life! Your brain gets tired of doing the same thing over and over again,” says Stokely Rose, personal trainer and CEO of TrainFit Club — a health and fitness organisation specialising in Corporate Wellness Programmes, their ‘Outdoor Madness Bootcamp’, Personal Training Services, Hikes, and their TrainFit Mile Chasers Run Club.

“Your body also plateaus easily when the body starts to get adjusted to what you’re doing,” Rose adds.

So watering the plants daily, using the same 10-pound weight on the same exercise for an extended period of time, or your 20 minutes on the treadmill at the same speed, begins to burn fewer calories.

 

Three ways to spice it up

Set a goal: Running a 10K, trying a challenging exercise or yoga pose, losing a certain amount of weight et cetera, are all examples of goals that will focus your workouts and allow you to change it up so you can attack all the muscles necessary to achieve your goal.

Step up the intensity: Don’t be afraid to add a little more intensity to your workout! Whether you increase your resistance/weights and decrease your reps, or incorporate short sprints/stairs/hill to your walking/jogging routine, the key is to avoid repetition which may lead to a fitness plateau.

Add variety: Doing more group classes is a guaranteed way to add variety as the instructors like to mix it up. Also, doing classes and fitness activities that you might find fun but have never tried is a great way to keep things interesting and shock your muscles. So swimming lessons, dancing and yoga are all amazing options.

You want to include a little of what you love and a lot of what you need. This increases enjoyment in your workout and ensures that you stay on your fitness journey.

“Add boot camps, runs and hikes to your routine, as they combine resistance training and cardiovascular endurance with the scenic outdoors which helps to push your body to a new physical and mental level,” Rose recommends.

Remember, step out of your comfort zone and change it up. Your body and mind will thank you for it.

Check out Health and Fitness Jamaica on Instagram (@healthandfitnessja) for a variety of upcoming health and fitness-related events.

 

Jo-Hanna Taylor is an internationally certified America Council of Exercise personal trainer, group fitness instructor, Power Vinyasa 200YT yoga instructor, and a wellness coordinator.

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