Keeping up with an exercise routine over a long period of time involves finding new ways to enjoy your workouts and to challenge yourself – both physically and mentally.
In fact, pushing yourself to try new activities is critical to prevent plateaus in progress, boredom, and burn-out. Varying your routines ensures you’ll have more fun – and stay more consistent – with the habits required for lifelong health and fitness.
Why Variety Is So Important
Making fitness a lifelong habit demands a willingness to consistently “stretch” your comfort zone. Those afraid to “try something new” often get bored with the same old routine and, before long, lose interest in maintaining their efforts.
Those who push their limitations grow from their experiences and enjoy the confidence, health, and success that comes from new achievements. Varying your activity is a critical element to challenging your current limitations.
Top Ten Cardio Activities
While the options are endless, listed are ten great ways to vary your cardio activity.
#1: Wind Sprints
Nothing will get your heart pumping and your lungs breathing faster than some sprinting. On the track, grass, or road – choose what terrain is available to you.
In the ocean, the lake, or the local pool. Safe at any age, swimming is a great total body and non-impact (good for joints) activity. Try alternating various strokes and pushing yourself for timed distances.
If you’ve got a road bike, great. If not, an indoor model or “trainer” will work fine as well. Spinning classes also offer a fun environment to push your cardio limits.
A great workout that challenges your lower body in a way, unlike running or biking. Great exercise for the thighs, glutes, and hips. Also great training for those who enjoy the winter sports of snow skiing, ice skating, and hockey.
#5: Mountain Biking
With the popularity of “off-road” cycling, miles of trails in local parks or wooded areas are now easily accessible these days. Be sure to pack your safety gear and pick a trail that matches the level of your expertise!
#6 Running Hills or Stairs
Depending on where you live, hills may or may not be readily available. Try challenging yourself to sprint stadium stairs or a few flights in a local hotel or office building as a great substitute. Talk about a cardio blast – give it a shot and you’ll be amazed!
#7 Jumping Rope
You might think of double-dutch or one of the games you used to play when you were a kid, but simple, timed jump rope intervals provide a serious workout. There are also several different types of ropes available including “speed” and “weighted” ropes that provide the added benefit of an upper-body workout at the same time. Use interval training – jump for 3–5 minutes at a good pace, then take 60 seconds rest. Repeat.
Most of us don’t have access to a rowing shell, but fortunately many local health clubs offer alternatives. Rowing is a great way to work your core, back and legs at the same time. Some rowing machines even offer video components to make the experience like a fun video-game – complete with a computerized opponent to race!
If a martial arts class doesn’t interest you (or you’d prefer to work up to it), there are some great cardio kickboxing DVDs available to turn your living room into a dojo. A brief search of Amazon.com finds more than sixteen options to choose from – give it a shot!
For clarity of mind, a good sweat, and flexibility at the same time, yoga offers tremendous benefits as part of a balanced health and fitness program. Many home DVDs are available to fit into your ideal schedule.
Finally, the simplest and easiest solution for you is to come into our studio. However, as I mentioned, VARIETY is crucially important, so be sure to incorporate other types of FUN cardio.
Challenging your body and mind with new exercise activities is essential to avoiding plateaus, boredom, and burnout. Pushing your limits ensures fun with maintaining the habits required for lifelong health and fitness success. Jump into one of our Group Sweat classes and break out of your boring cardio workouts with our innovative approach to cardio