Thursday, November 23, 2017
Features and More

Variety proves to be spice of exercise, too

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I remember the first time I saw our cover guy, Rob Snyder.

I was in my kayak on Coffeepot Bayou in St. Petersburg, and he was up on the sidewalk, gliding along on what appeared to be an elliptical machine that had sprouted wheels and broken out of the gym.

I even remember my reaction: "What. Is. That?''

You may have a similar response to our photos and story today about Snyder, who is a regular connoisseur of unconventional fitness regimens.

But once you get past the gear, you might also recognize that Snyder is on to a basic and essential principle of fitness specifically and life in general: We all need variety.

Exercise scientists will tell you that if you keep doing the same workout over and over, your body adapts to the movement and you stop seeing improvements.

I will tell you that if I keep doing the same workout over and over I get really bored and stop doing anything at all.

So I go to a boot camp class three days a week where we always do different cardio/strength workouts. I have a yoga class once a week that's never the same twice. I try to get in a bike ride or a walk with friends on weekends, preferably on a route we haven't tried before.

Injuries are another good reason to have alternatives in your exercise arsenal. When I wrenched my back on vacation recently, I discovered the recumbent stationary bike at a Hampton Inn in Charleston, S.C. I've always thought those bikes looked too tame to count as real exercise. But they feel great on your back. And if you crank up the resistance, they only look easy.

My ultra-fit yoga teacher recently told me she's taken up swimming to heal her own aching back. And my super-strong boot-camp leader trades in the kettle bells and jump ropes for bike riding on the weekends.

Bottom line: We all need a change. And as Rob Snyder shows us, we might need to get creative for maximum results — and fun.

Which is not to say you absolutely must have pricey new gear. You could change up your daily walk with some new music, or old tunes you haven't listened to in years.

Try picking up the pace on the faster songs, or taking longer strides (maybe even up stairs or bleachers) on the slower ones. Throw in a few pushups, burpees or squats every five or 10 minutes.

Don't worry if somebody points at you as if to say "What. Is. That?''

Just do like Snyder: Keep going and leave the gawkers in the dust.

Charlotte Sutton can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 893-8425.

Charlotte Sutton I Health and medicine editor

Terry Tomalin I Outdoors/fitness editor

Jan Brackett I Designer

Dirk Shadd I Cover photo

To advertise: Call (727) 893-8535.

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