If you’ve recently identified more excuses than reasons to visit the gym, you may be battling a case of boredom in your exercise routine. Simple, small changes in your normal regime may reunite your feet and the elliptical machine once again.
"Oftentimes people forget that a periodic change in your routine can not only benefit different muscles, but prevent the boredom that many of us experience,” explains Craig Wax, DO, an osteopathic family physician practicing in Mullica Hill, N.J.
Dr. Wax further explains that the human body adapts quickly to most exercises, so if you’ve maintained the same routine for too long you may have reached a plateau that no longer benefits your body as much.
“If you no longer sweat during your workouts you may need to increase your intensity,” explains Dr. Wax. “Try lengthening the duration of your workouts, the weight or repetitions of your lifts, or add another day to your routine.”
Cross-training was pioneered to battle the boredom of professional athletes. However, Dr. Wax says it is great for everyone.
“A good exercise routine should include cardiovascular exercise, weight or resistance training, and some stretching and flexibility exercises,” he says.
Another quick-fix for fighting boredom is a change of scenery. Dr. Wax explains that if your exercise routine is always indoors, you may just need to step outside.
“Change your scenery regularly to prevent boredom and for best physical results,” says Dr. Wax. “Take a fast walk, swim or bicycle with friends instead of meeting to eat.”
“An excellent idea whenever you need added motivation is to enlist a friend. Working out with a partner can add a social element to your routine and you won’t skip the gym when you know someone else is waiting for you,” he explains.
Dr. Wax adds that if you cannot find a friend, join a class or club to add the social element. Another option he recommends is to set an athletic goal like finishing a race or participating in a sporting tournament of some kind.
"Competition and setting goals are two great ways to get motivated,” he says.
Dr. Wax says that your body may be signaling you for a needed vacation from the gym. A few days off every month can prevent over-training and can rejuvenate and refresh the body for your next month.
To receive the best results from your exercise routine, Dr. Wax recommends modifying your workout every two weeks. In addition, he recommends a healthy diet including lots of vegetables and eight glasses of water a day.