Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Mixing Things Up

Some exercise equipment at home

I've never been one for a regular (read: repetitive) workout schedule; as much as I would like to quickly improve how much weights I can lift, or how far/fast I can run, I'd be bored out of my gourd if I am doing the same set of exercises day after day (and I suspect that's a big reason for many folks that fell off the workout wagon.)

And so, I like mixing up my routine -- not only does it work out my entire body in all sorts of ways, it keeps it fun and challenging so I really don't mind doing it 6-7 days/week.

Some of the things I integrate into my mix:

- Running: yes, a rather mundane exercise but it's also one of the best calorie burners so I aim for two days a week. But I change up the routes and I occasionally load up a playlist of energetic, upbeat music if I am not as worried about my pacing.

- Cardio-dance: admittedly a bit dated since it's very 80s retro-aerobics, but it's a decent cardio workout and the dance moves really help keep shoulders, waist, hips and legs in shape. And who knows, maybe you can take a move or two to the club when going out.

- Athletic Intervals: whether in the form of football runs, basketball shuffles, volleyball spikes or cardio-kickbox, I like these a lot since they usually employ some plyometrics, short bursts that really builds power and endurance.

- Lifting the weights: I try to incorporate at least a little bit of strength training five days a week, muscles burn calories around the clock and helps keep me looking athletically-fit instead of overactive thyroid-emaciated. Again, like running, I give myself great versatility here so I don't get bored. In addition to classic lifts with my dumbbells, sometimes I'll do core-based moves with stability ball, or use a resistance band with my cardio workouts to give it that extra oompf!

- Pilates: better for days when I want to exercise at a more relaxed pace but still feel a burn, this is excellent for core-strengthening and developing ab/back muscles.

- Yoga: decent for developing strength, nice for relaxation, and wonderful for gaining flexibility, which is often neglected as part of fitness but very important in helping to prevent injuries.

And so that's my "routine" that's anything but (I can pretty much do a different 40-80 min. workout for three weeks with no repeats!) and works well for keeping me engaged and persistent. But whatever you want to incorporate into your regimen, be sure to keep it fresh and varied so you'll stay challenged, have fun and keep at that goal of building and maintaining fitness.