News reports will often remind you that, despite the known benefits of physical activity, more than 80% of adults do not meet current guidelines for aerobic exercise.
Perhaps at some point you were a part of the successful 20% but you find yourself falling out of your fitness routine. There are many reasons fitness routines fail. Some simply lose interest in their routine or become irritated by lack of results. Instead of an uplift, a workout can become a dull, tedious chore, so its not surprising that many stop exercising. The good news is that there are many different ways to get your physical activity in. The first step is finding an activity you enjoy and that challenges you. The next step is to mix it up often enough to prevent boredom and prevent plateaus in your fitness.
Here are some options to get you going:
If you need to change up your routine, try joining a group. Groups are great because you get support from others. Motivation is important while you exercise, and groups may help you stay focused. There are also set schedules to help keep you on track. There are several different types of group activities. Find a group that interests you. Some examples include:
Dance is a great choice for people who seek a powerful cardio workout but also want to enjoy what they are doing. It involves aerobic exercise combined with dance and music. There are all different types of dance styles that you can choose from.
If you find that one type of dance does not get you back in the mood to work out, try another one! Here are a few of the latest trends:
These are only a few of the latest trends in dance aerobics. Some require more physical fitness than others. Contact your local fitness center and find out what you need to know to get started or look for local dancing groups.
If intensity is your game, there are many choices for you to burn calories. Many of the more popular classes engage in complete workouts. Here are a few choices:
If you hate the winter months, find a pool to jump into. There are several ways of getting fit in the water. Water is a great way to get your heart pumping without excess stress on your joints.
Many places with pools may offer the same aerobic classes you are already used to, but in the water instead. Aqua boxing, water aerobics, and water polo leagues are a few options for you to check out.
Try one or all, and find out what is right for you. Ask a gym manager, check online, or call your local YMCA for information on what programs are available in your area.
Ask a friend to join you. Sometimes challenging your best buddy leads to great results.
Of course, any exercise routine will feel stale after awhile. You may find yourself losing interest or becoming frustrated again. Remember to mix things up a bit or just switch to more traditional activities. Some steps that can help you mix up your current routine include:
Keep in mind that it’s wise to take a day off after you work out on three or four consecutive days. Consider varying the length of your sessions too.
When it comes to breaking your routine, there are countless options. It can be done at a gym with a group, alone, in the great outdoors, or even at home. Try out different options to help you find what works best for you.
For adults (aged 18-64 years), the US Department of Health and Human Services recommends 2 hours and 30 minutes a week of moderate to intense aerobic activity.
Other health factors will impact your ability to stay active. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, avoid extreme dieting, and abstain from smoking to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Properly fueling your body will help keep you going and make sure you recover well. Nothing will interfere with your fitness routine faster than a body that cannot heal or function well.
American College of Sports Medicine
The President’s Council on Fitness, Sports, and Nutrition
Canadian Academy of Sports Medicine
Public Heath of Canada Healthy Living Unit
Be active your way: a fact sheet for adults. US Department of Health and Human Services website. Available at: http://www.health.gov/paguidelines/factSheetAdults.aspx. Accessed October 24, 2014.
Lee I-M, Sesso HD, Oguma Y, Paffenbarger RS. Relative intensity of physical activity and risk of coronary heart disease. Circulation. 2003;107:1110.
Nutrition and Weight Status. Healthy People 2020 from Healthy People website. Available at: http://www.healthypeople.gov/2020/topicsobjectives2020/overview.aspx?topicid=29. Accessed October 24, 2014.
Physical Activity. Healthy People 2020 from Healthy People website. Available at: http://www.healthypeople.gov/2020/topicsobjectives2020/overview.aspx?topicid=33. Accessed October 24, 2014.
Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. US Department of Health and Human Services website. Available at: http://www.health.gov/PAGuidelines/factsheetprof.aspx. Accessed October 24, 2014.
US Leagues. USA Water Polo website. Available at: http://www.usawaterpolo.org/ProgramsHome/USLeagues/USLeaguesDetails.aspx. Accessed October 24, 2014.
Last reviewed October 2014 by Michael Woods, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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