Change the pace in your fitness routine to maintain your long-term health habits. Don’t be too rigid in your plan. Your routine should allow time for some creativity and most important – rest.
You should have at least one day per week where you do no exercise.
This allows time for your muscles to repair themselves and for your body to recover from your week’s workouts.
Conversely, don’t be afraid to push-it a few times per week either. If you get used to jogging the same route, add another loop or run a section of it at a faster pace.
Mixing up our routine keeps it fresh and makes us stronger. A 7-day per week workout plan with no rest days will eventually fail. Your body needs rest. Many elite athletes become more susceptible to things like the common cold because they’ve driven their bodies into continual exhaustion and their immune systems can’t properly protect their body. Overtraining can also lead to injury by exercising muscles that are in need of repair.
If you’re used to getting on the stair climber everyday at 5 o’clock after work, try a different piece of equipment at the gym like the treadmill or elliptical, or go for a walk or jog around the neighborhood. This variation keeps us mentally stimulated, as well as exercises various muscles that we don’t always use. As a runner, I primarily exercise the back muscles of my legs – so a day or two a week on the exercise bike helps muscles like my quadriceps and other areas I don’t regularly work out.
If you go the gym everyday, that’s awesome, but try going outside for a workout once in awhile to keep you invigorated. Not only will you get a healthy dose of Vitamin D (i.e. sunshine), but the fresh air and change of scenery may be just what you need.
If you run the same course everyday (like I typically do), try mixing it up! Run the loop backwards or try a different course. Or play a mental game where you run parts of your loop at various paces. Sometimes a small change in our routine can keep it fresh and fun.
Program some spontaneity and flexibility into your routine. We can’t control things like weather, moods, and even our schedules – so stay flexible and enjoy the changes of pace.
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