“Change.” That’s a word I have heard a lot lately. And experienced.
There have been a ton of changes at my job since the New Year. The Oxford YMCA recently changed locations. It was a gigantic undertaking to move the contents of a 10,000-square-foot building.
Nothing like a little change or a big change to keep things interesting.
Well, your body feels the same way. To keep things interesting to your body, it needs change as well. Over the years, I have witnessed this all too often.
A member will come in and work out on the elliptical for 30 minutes, three days a week, for years and years and years. Five, 10, 15 years go by, and they see no changes in their weight — or they are gaining weight.
The worst kind of workout is the one that never changes. It is very easy to stick with only what you know, but it is also easy to reach a plateau.
Do the same thing for about six weeks, and it becomes easier to do — but it is also no longer a challenge, and the effectiveness of that routine goes down the tubes.
Instead, change your exercise routine every few weeks, so your body doesn’t get accustomed to what you are doing. A surprised body reacts and responds to these unpredictable challenges. Get creative with your workouts.
A great way to change up your exercise routine is by using the FITT principle: Frequency, Intensity, Time and Type.
Ask these four questions about your exercise routine:
1. Frequency: How many times do you work out in a week? Can you add more?
2. Intensity: What is your intensity level when you exercise? Barely getting that heart rate up?
3. Time: How long are your workouts? Try for at least 30-40 minutes per workout.
4. Type. What type of exercise are you doing?
Think about ways to change these components. If you are exercising two days a week, try adding a third or fourth day.
If you barely work up a sweat during your workout, try adding exercises that increase your heart rate while still staying at safe levels.
Only able to work out for 30 minutes? Try an hour. Get up a little earlier or work out on your lunch break. Remember that exercise is cumulative.
Are you doing zumba three times a week? If so, try another type of class, or go for a run, or hit the bike trails. Change the type of exercise you are doing to help jumpstart your metabolism.
If you are an exercise class person like myself, the possibilities are endless. There are barbell classes, spin classes, dance classes, core classes, high-intensity interval classes, barre classes, kickboxing classes and on and on.
If running is your thing, hit some hills. If you are just running on flats, then imagine your body’s surprise when you start to add in hills. This is easy to do in our area; there are plenty of hills around! The same goes for walking.
No matter what exercise you love, imagine it is at the middle of a circle. Draw four lines from the middle of the circle out to the edge. On those lines, note different things you can add to this favorite exercise to change it up. Add a jump rope, or jumping jacks, hills, sprints or push-ups.
If you are stumped, ask a professional for help. More than likely, they will think of changes you may never have imagined. You may be sorry you asked!
Ann Angell is a certified instructor and personal trainer and manager of the Oxford YMCA. Her fitness column appears the third Sunday of each month.