When it comes to shaping up for the summer, we all tend to gravitate towards a workout routine that we know we can excel at. However, going to the same kickboxing class, or running the same 3-mile loop at the park, is not the most effective way to get your body back in action. Do the same routine over and over, and you’re going to make strong muscles tighter, and leave weaker muscles weak. You’re also hardening well-established neural pathways, instead of challenging your body to create new ones. Do the same exercise enough, and your body will change its shape in response to your activity.
Ever seen the arms of a professional tennis player? One arm is twice the size of the other—a direct result of the different level of demand placed on the playing arm. For a tennis pro, that’s part of what they do, but for the rest of us, the goal is balance: overall strength, flexibility, endurance. The way to achieve that is to add variety to your routine, find different ways to move, and consistently challenge your body system.
Here’s 3 ways to instantly shake up your routine this summer:
*Change your mode of locomotion. For cardio, try riding a bike or jumping rope instead of running, for example, or change your usual routine to include stairs, hills or other challenges.
*Step away from the machines. Get outside! See what happens when you find alternate ways to train–pushups on the grass instead of a cable chest press machine, or step-ups on a park bench instead of the elliptical machine.
*Choose a new flavor. Try an activity you’ve never done before, like a new class or a new sport. Just learning the basics can definitely be a challenge.