We all can get into a rut sometimes. What used to be fun now seems like a chore. Perhaps your exercise routines you’ve been assigned in physical therapy are boring to do every day. Maybe the Friday workout routine you used to love and look forward to now seem impossible to conjure motivation for. This is a common phenomenon that can occur for anyone from amateurs to the elite athletes. Here are some ways to bring the spark back into your practice.
1. Change settings: If you tend to perform your exercises in the exact location of your home, then try performing it in a different room. Perhaps, you have a certain route that you like to walk or run, try a different location or time of day. If you practice yoga, try taking an additional class at a different studio. Changing the setting allows you to break up monotony or the expected.
2. Involve Friends: Inviting your friends to workout with you is a great way to infuse entertainment into your exercise regime. With your friends, you’ll be distracted with conversation. Even if they are in the same gym as you, you’ll likely be aware of their presence and that alone can shift your focus and change your routine.
3. Make it a game: There are several games you can incorporate into your exercise routine. Some examples include: Varying the pace at which you perform your exercises. Perhaps the first set will be slow, but the second set slightly faster. If you’re walking, this could be to walk slow and easy for the first 5 minutes, then increase your pace and intensity for the next 3 minutes, then returning to a slower pace for the next 5 minutes or whatever ratio you choose that fits your ability. Having a stopwatch helps to incorporate pacing of exercises and rest periods. If you listen to music, perhaps, exercising to the beat of the music.
4. Finding amusement and joy: Recall reasons why you are exercising and any of the benefits you received from doing so. Perhaps, doing an exercise made your muscles feel stronger and as such you felt more stable and taller walking. Perhaps while walking, you noticed the beauty of nature and also heard the sounds of the ocean or of birds chirping. Bringing back the sense of naivety of discovering something new can foster feelings of amusement and joy. Exercising and moving your body should be a choice, not an obligation.
5. Reversing the order of exercises: Another easy way to beat the doldrums of exercise can simply be to change the order of which you’ve been doing them. If you tend to start with leg strengthening exercises, perhaps start with upper extremity or back exercises. If you tend to end with the treadmill at the gym, try doing the treadmill first. Routines can make us a bit complacent. Our body knows what is going to happen, but if we can mix it up and keep the body guessing, it will stay more alert.
6. Try something else: If you’re used to going to the gym, try cycling or running outside. If you tend to perform all land based exercises like hiking, running or cycling, try a water based exercise class or swimming laps. Interspersing a dance class, tai chi or yoga are additional ways to challenge our mind and body as well as build coordination.
Our bodies are wired to learn an activity and when it does so, we have a natural ability to look for ways to make the same activity more efficient so we can “master” it. Unfortunately, as our muscles become more efficient at an activity, our brain tends to wander leading to boredom. Utilizing some of the tips above can help you to stay motivated to move your body and get healthy. If you would like additional insight as to how to mix things up, stay on your plan especially while managing injury, please do not hesitate to reach out to us!