How, When and Why to Add Variety to Your Exercise Program

 

Congratulations! You’ve officially made it to the final week of Elements. The program may be coming to a close, but you have the tools and resources to continue your health and fitness journey. As you progress with the exercise plan, switch up exercises to avoid plateaus and stay interested.

 

Why should I add variety to my exercise program?

  • Varying your exercise routine can help you stay physically challenged. Many of the body's physiological systems (e.g., the muscular system) adapt to an exercise program within approximately six to eight weeks. If you don’t modify your exercise routine, you reach a plateau because your body has adapted to the repetitive training stimulus. (see Week Three blog post on progressions and regressions) Choose different exercises targeting the same muscle group to fatigue the muscles in a new order or pattern. Mixing up your workout program will require your muscles to adapt to a new training stimulus.

  • Many individuals need to push themselves to new levels and try different activities to stay enthusiastic and excited about their workouts. By varying your exercise routines, you will not only stay physically challenged, but mentally stimulated as well.

 

Recommendations:

  • Research has shown adding variety to an exercise program can improve adherence. Individuals who modified their workouts every two weeks over an eight-week period appeared to enjoy their workouts more and were more inclined to stick with their exercise programs when compared to individuals who followed the same workout regimens week after week.

  • Gradually change exercises with new ones targeting the same muscle group.

  • Challenge yourself to try a new format of exercise by signing up for a group fitness class or small group training.

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