Yes - I know, bit of a strange and personal question to ask isn't it! Actually it's a question that was posed to me at a conference I attended recently and it got me thinking, why do I always sleep on the same side of the bed?
I guess the answer for most of us is habit, it feels right, and we are used to it. There is lots of research about how making small changes in our lives can have a dramatic effect on our feelings of wellbeing and our health, that is true about exercise too.
If running gives you a buzz that's great but why not try and go a bit faster but for shorter periods, or set a goal to go a bit further and perhaps take part in a race where you can measure your achievement. Making some changes to what you do is great in many ways -
** Boost your metabolic rate
When you do the same activity all the time, your body gets used it and becomes very efficient, which means that eventually we adapt and need fewer calories to do the same amount of exercise. By making some changes and introducing a challenge you body is not used to, it will have to work harder to adapt which means that you’ll burn more calories when you work out. Obviously that assumes we are eating a nutritious and healthy diet!
** Prevent overtraining or overuse injuries
We've all hear of repetitive strain injury,, something that happens when we make lots of repetitive motions, such as running, hitting a ball, lifting a weight. By mixing up our exercise we give overused muscles, joints, and ligaments a chance to rest and recover before putting them into action again. And if we are injured, opting for a different form of exercise that doesn't affect the injury will allow you to stay in shape and heal at the same time.
** Develop New Muscles
It can't have escaped many of us that the athletics is on at the moment and the body shapes of the athletes that follow their own disciplines are all different, sprinters have thick muscly legs, the long distance runners are lean and wiry and the shot putters have lots of weigh=power behind them. The heptathalete have beautiful bodies due to the strength and speed they need across the range of activities. So to get the body of a heptathalete the best approach is to do a little of everything. That way you’ll build a strong heart (for endurance), muscular legs and a powerful upper body. You’ll look great and be physically ready to take on a variety of sports and activities.
** Beat the Boredom
If you can't wait for your class/run/walk to be over you so need to MOVE ON!! Prevent your exercise routine from getting boring by constantly trying new things. Challenge your self with a Hi Met class for a total change of style, introduce Yoga or Pilates for a change of pace or set a goal for a race to change your runs.
** Help Keep Your Brain Healthy
Exercise is essential for keeping your brain sharp and helping to prevent memory loss. I hear recently that doing 60 seconds of hard effort during the day - increases our ability to take in and retain information so next time you are in a brain challenging situation 60 seconds of squats or plank - well it will get people talking!
** Meet New People
Turing up to a class is one of the most scary things but it is often the people you meet there that become the reason you go! If you are considering a new class why not encourage a friend to do it with you and then together you will meet lost of new people!
** Get Excited About Exercise Again
After the long summer break when we are supposed to be enjoying BBQ's and sipping cocktails, depending on our weather of course -it is all too easy to get out of a routine. That's great, a couple of weeks off is good for us but after about three weeks our bodies adapt and we start to lose fitness, gain weight and our mood declines.
Plan ahead for September and decide what you can fit in and when, book classes in advance, find a race - anything just to get you ready to make the change when the time is right.