Should you vary your exercise routine? That’s a question we hear a lot in the health and fitness space. It’s not as cut and dry as saying YES, you absolutely should, or NO, you absolutely shouldn’t.

Individuals should consider varying their exercise routines for two fundamental reasons:

  1. To prevent boredom associated with doing the same workout after workout
  2. To avoid, or delay, reaching a plateau in workout performance, and subsequently, training results

Research has shown that adding a variety to an exercise program can improve adherence. Varying your exercise routine can also help you stay physically challenged. Many of the body’s physiological systems (e.g. the muscular system, and the central nervous system) adapt to an exercise program within approximately six to eight weeks. If you do NOT modify your exercise routine, you reach a plateau because your body has adapted to the repetitive training stimulus.

There are several ways you can spice up your current workout routine, including boosting the intensity of your workouts. For instance, if you walk or run, try incorporating some intervals of jogging, or sprinting, or adding in hill work to your route. You can also cross-train and perform different activities to provide your body with a new challenge.

A nice alternative to resistance training exercises involves changing the sequence in which you perform the training exercises. By fatiguing the muscles in a new order or pattern, you are requiring them to adapt to a new training stimulus.

Keep in mind that doing the exact same thing, day in and day out, is not necessarily a bad thing. Some people enjoy a predictable consistent routine. However, many individuals need to push themselves to new levels and try different activities to stay enthusiastic and excited about their workouts. By varying their exercise routines, individuals can not only stay physically challenged but mentally stimulated as well.

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