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Break the Routine in Aerobic Exercise

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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:

Join a Group

If you need to change up your routine, try joining a group. Groups are great because you get support from people in the same boat you are. 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 Classes

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:

  • Zumba—a combination of Latin-style dance in a party atmosphere. The emphasis is on fun.
  • Pole Dancing—it works muscles all over your body and burns hundreds of calories.
  • Jazzercise—aerobic dance moves to jazz music.
  • Salsa—get moving to the Latin beat.
  • Country Line Dancing—if you are a fan of country music, this might be an easy choice.

These are only a few of the latest trends in dance aerobics. Some require more physical fitness than others. Contact your local gym and find out what you need to know to get started.

Unorthodox Classes

A variety of classes are out there for those bold individuals who want a challenging power workout unlike anything else. If intensity is your game, there are many choices for you to get down and dirty. Many of the more popular classes engage in full-blown workouts. Here are a few choices:

  • Boot Camp—the name says it all. Military style fitness rules this class.
  • PX90—you may have seen this on TV. A few home equipment pieces and the DVDs will propel you to a better you. Momentum builds over time, so you will not be bored.
  • Kickboxing
  • Yoga— it may work your flexibility, but it is not for the weak. Find your style among the wide varieties of yoga.
  • Pilates
  • Jump Rope

Water Fitness Classes

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.

If you do not want to be with others, enlist a friend. Sometimes challenging your best buddy leads to great results.

Let's Get Physical

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:

  • Get outside and run or ride a bike. Fresh air can do wonders for stale routines.
  • Try sport oriented activities. The challenge of skill building or training for a specific event may help keep you on your toes.
  • Go seasonal. Try to get outside during the cold months. Try to ski or skate. They are fun, easy ways to burn calories.

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, on the great outdoors or even at home. Try out different options to help you find what works best for you.

Keep in Mind

For adults (aged 18-64 years), the 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.

RESOURCES:

American College of Sports Medicine
http://www.acsm.org/

The President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports
http://www.fitness.gov/

CANADIAN RESOURCES:

Health Canada
http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/

Public Heath of Canada Healthy Living Unit
http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/

References:

About Zumba Fitness. Zumba Fitness website. Available at: http://www.zumba.com/about/. Accessed November 16, 2012.

Five Most Popular and Trendy Workout Programs Today. Fitness Health Zone website. Available at: http://www.fitnesshealthzone.com/exercises/5-most-popular-and-trendy-workout-programs-today/. Accessed November 16, 2012.

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 November 16, 2012.

Physical Activity. Healthy People 2020 from Healthy People website. Available at: http://www.healthypeople.gov/2020/topicsobjectives2020/overview.aspx?topicid=33. Accessed November 16, 2012.

Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. US Department of Health and Human Services website. Available at: http://www.health.gov/PAGuidelines/factsheetprof.aspx. Updated 10/17/2008. Accessed November 16, 2012.

US Department of Health and Human Services. 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. Updated October 17, 2008. Accessed November 15, 2012.

US Leagues. USA Water Polo website. Available at: http://www.usawaterpolo.org/ProgramsHome/USLeagues/USLeaguesDetails.aspx. Accessed November 16, 2012.



Last reviewed November 2012 by Brian Randall, 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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