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Get Fit! Feel Good! October’s Blog

Recap of September’s Blog: Connecting with Nature. As we learned in September’s blog, connecting with nature can provide many health benefits! Nature can improve our overall mood, supports our physical health, and helps lower stress and anxiety.  We spend too many hours in front of screens it’s important to remind ourselves to take the time and enjoy the outdoors.

October’s Wellness Goal: Change it up!

What exactly does change it up mean? Well many of us are creatures of habit, we schedule our lives down to the very last minute and many times it will consist of doing the same thing; waking up, working, going to the gym, eating dinner then bed. Schedules are helpful, and consistency is important, most of the time. When it comes to everyday life, consistency is good because it allows you to develop a routine and helps to build momentum. For example it’s good to be consistently on time, or consistently good at practice or at work but when it comes to your fitness routine being consistent might be doing more harm than good. Don’t get me wrong, you should consistently go to the gym and be active but it’s important to vary your actual exercise routine!!

When we are at the gym or plan to work out, we stick to what is comfortable. We go to the same class, head for the same treadmill or elliptical, log the same workout on the same machine or run the same route when go for a run.  Sure, there are definitely some benefits to performing the same workout routine especially when it comes to endurance. If you are training for a road race especially one of long distance such as a marathon, running multiple days and getting a regular cardio workout in is good. The more you run the better you will be at it, practice does make perfect.

Strength training is a more complicated matter, strength training needs to be repeated for a period of time in order to be effective. The first 4-6 weeks of a strength program are neurological improvements says Darryn Willoughby an exercise physiologist and professor at Baylor University.  He says your brain is learning how to most efficiently recruit muscles to complete the moves. Then about 12-16 weeks is usually when you’ll start to see progress.  Again this doesn’t mean doing chest presses everyday it’s important to let your muscle recover.

The take away! The human body is great at adapting to whatever we throw at it. When we ask our body to run the same course multiple times it will become efficient at it. A run that you found to be a challenging, a sweat dripping workout will become an average workout.  If you perform a chest press or squat the same weight over a course of time that weight will become easy.

One of the biggest reasons to change up a workout routine is to avoid plateauing.  Plateau basically means when your body adapts and becomes efficient at it. When this happens you are likely to burn less calories doing the same workout than you previously did. When it’s a new workout your body will work harder to make adjustment to the new activity. To help you change up your routine follow the F.I.T.T principle which stand for

  • Frequency- how often you perform the workout. So instead of running 2 times a week try running 3 times a week
  • Intensity- how much effort/ energy you put into the workout. The best way to measure this is through heart rate. If you aren’t able to measure it through heart rate  then try increasing speed on the treadmill by 1, by walking a little bit faster on your next walk or by increasing the weight by half a pound the next time you strength train.
  • Time – how much time you perform the activity for. If you usually run, walk or do the elliptical for 30 minutes try increasing to 35-40 minutes.
  • Type- what movement you’re performing. If you usually go for a run try cycling, rowing or swimming. If you use the same chest machine at the gym use a different type of machine. The machine can still target your chest as long as the movement is different (regular chest press vs incline chest press

These are all the different ways to adjust your workout routine, you do not have to change all of these at once. For endurance (cardio) based exercises try changing the frequency first, once you need another change try changing the time followed by intensity finally try switching up your movement (try swimming, biking or zumba something you don’t usually do)

Other reasons why you should change up your exercise routine:

 

1. Build new muscles

Balance is important. For example if you are someone who only does cardio try strength training (with the help of a fitness professional). Its important to have a strong heart but you also want strong muscles! Not to mention strength training will actually help you perform better at those cardio exercises (run or walk)

If you strength train and only focus on a certain part of the body this causes muscle imbalances. Muscle imbalances is when one muscle is stronger than the other muscles around it. Muscle imbalances can lead to injuries!

 

2. Prevent overuse injuries

Doing the same exercise over and over again can cause strain to those particular muscles. This happens because your muscles don’t get enough time to recover or rest before putting them to work again. By switching up your routine this allows enough time for your muscles to heal before using them again.

3. Beat workout boredom

When you do the same workout routine, sometimes the thought of going to the gym is dreadful and can seem like it takes forever. If you switch up your routine you will find working out can be exciting again!

Next Month: Cold Season Ready!

12 Months of Wellness

MONTHGOAL
JanuaryStart Moving
FebruaryAdd Water
MarchPlant/ Try Gardening
AprilEat Better
MayQuit A Bad Habit
JuneTry to Eliminate Sugar
JulyRecruit a Family Member
AugustDe-stress
SeptemberConnect with nature
OctoberChange it up
NovemberCold Season Ready
DecemberEnjoy the season & Reflect

 

 

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