Regular exercise is the only way to maintain a physically fit body, so it makes sense that those who vary their workouts have a better chance of sticking with it than those who continually perform the same exercise. Sure, there are exceptions. Everyone knows someone who runs regularly as if their life depended upon, but for most of us, variety is the spice of life.
In addition to breaking the monotony of a stale routine, varying your workout can help you achieve your fitness goals more quickly. Muscles plateau when being worked in the same manner day after day, therefore exercises need to be changed to continue to challenge your muscles. If you do a variety of exercises, you will also achieve a total body workout.
There are two main types of exercises people do: cardiovascular and weight training/muscle toning that targets specific areas. Most of the following ways to work out will fall under one or the other, or be a combination of the two.
Walking is a fantastic form of cardiovascular exercise. By walking either outside or on a treadmill a few times a week for 30 minutes a day, you can strengthen the heart. There has also been a lot of talk about the 10,000 steps a day method. The belief is if you can manage to walk 10,000 steps each day, your body will get a good workout. Pedometers can be purchased inexpensively to count the number of steps.
Running/Jogging is another fantastic form of cardiovascular exercise, running gives your heart a great workout. By running 3-4 times a week, you can increase the health of your cardiovascular system tremendously.
Martial Arts like, Karate, Ju Jitsu, Tae Kwon Do, Kickboxing and other forms of martial arts give the body a great work out and teach important skills such as self defense and self esteem.
Kids know fun when they see it and jumping rope or jumping on a trampoline is a great form of exercise for grownups as well. Another activity that kids love that is a fantastic total body workout that is very low impact is swimming. So put on your swimsuit and take a few laps around the pool.
Although many types of exercises are aerobic, aerobics refers to a routine of exercises often done to music. In the 1980’s the fitness world went crazy with aerobics classes, inspired by Jane Fonda, and although the routines have varied since then, they are still a popular form of exercise.
Yoga, a Middle Eastern meditative exercise targets the body and the mind. Adding a class or two a week can benefit any exercise program. Another mind/body workout is Pilates. This form of exercise offers a series of controlled movements to strengthen muscles while not building bulk.
Weight training targets specific muscle groups to tone and strengthen them. This can be done either by using free weights or by working with machines. Weight training is an important part of a varied exercise routine, especially if loosing weight is a goal. As muscles become stronger they increase your metabolism and this helps the body to burn more fat.
Floor exercises such as sit-ups, push-ups, stretching, leg lifts and other exercises that are done on the floor with no additional equipment can target specific muscles and can be done just about anywhere.
Cardiovascular machines, treadmills, elliptical machines, stair climbers, rowing machines, and stationary bicycles all are designed to increase the heart rate and strengthen the heart muscle while burning calories. Many of these machines also target specific muscle groups. Elliptical machines and stair climbers workout the muscles in the leg and butt, while rowing machines give the arms a great workout.