I’ve noticed that a lot of people, myself included, can get into exercise ruts. We take the same class, go for the same walk, lift the same weights. Our exercise becomes a habit, which is good. But it can also become a routine, which is bad.
In order to continue seeing results from your exercise program, you need to make sure you are continuing to challenge yourself. After keeping a regular exercise routine for several weeks to months, our bodies become stronger and more efficient at doing the exercises. In fact, they become so efficient that we will no longer see much improvements.
In order to see better results, you need to step up your routine and challenge your body.
Some simple ways to step up your cardio include:
- increase the time spent doing your cardiovascular exercise by 5 to 10 minutes
- Add an extra day of cardio to your routine
- Increase the intensity of your exercise: walk or run faster (no more than 0.5 mph at a time), increase the resistance on the bike or elliptical machine, or add incline to the treadmill (0.5 – 1.0% incline)
- Try a new form of cardio like swimming, biking or taking an aerobics class.
Choose one of the above (no more than 1!) and slowly add this to your routine. You want to make small adjustments over time in order to avoid burnout and injury. Trust me, a small increase in speed, time or resistance will definitely challenge you – so no need to make more than 1 adjustment!
Once your body adjusts in about a month, then you can make another adjustment to step up your routine.
The challenge is never to get too comfortable with what you are doing. This way, you are always getting better and getting fitter. Plus, it helps keep you from getting mentally burned out and bored from doing the same routine for years on end!
What are you favorite ways to step up your cardio? How do you keep yourself from getting into an exercise rut?
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