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Varying exercise routine spurs fitness, alleviates boredom

re you becoming bored with your exercise routine, maybe even noticing that your body doesn't seem to be making any progress? Boredom can wreak havoc with exercise commitment vows, and it's very easy to become bored when you fall into an exercise rut, continually repeating the same exercise movements over and over. When this happens, your body begins to get used to the exercise, and within six to eight weeks, muscular adaptation takes place.

This is not to suggest there is anything wrong with following a consistent, repetitive routine. Some people are content to remain at their current level. However, to stimulate progress and maximize your workout both physically and mentally, you need to spice up your workout routine by changing it up.

Variations to add to workout

1Changing sequence: Mixing up the order of the exercises every several weeks invites a fresh training stimulus.

2Vary intensity: Introduce interval workouts. Alternating high-intensity bursts of exercise with recovery periods will boost the calorie burn.

3Upbeat music: Good for cardio workouts. Keeping in tempo with the beat encourages you to change your pace frequently. A study from the Research Institute for Sport and Exercise found that people on stationary bikes cycled faster and covered more distance when faster music was playing.

4Compound exercises: Isolation exercises are when you train only one major muscle group at a time. Compound exercises engage multimuscle groups, such as a squat, which targets many muscles in the lower body and core.

5Cross-training: Performing different activities will provide new challenges, as you will be using your body in many different ways.

6Change equipment: Introduce stability balls, medicine balls, jump ropes, resistance bands, body cords, body bars and balance boards.

If you are 50 or older and have not been exercising, check with your physician before beginning any exercise program. Trainer Sally Anderson is happy to hear from readers but cannot respond to individual queries. She can be reached at

Photos by DIRK SHADD | Times

m The plank

This basic floor exercise strengthens the upper body, lower body and the core. Lying on stomach, lift slightly off floor, supported by lower arms and toes. Contract abdominals and, without arching back, hold plank position for 30 to 60 seconds, head relaxed and looking toward floor. Beginners should hold the position for 10 seconds.

. Standing triceps extension

Strengthens back of upper arms. Standing tall, feet hip-width apart and abs contracted, hold medicine ball straight over head (right). With arms close to sides of head, bend elbows to lower ball toward upper back (bottom right). Slowly extend arms from elbows, returning arms to original position. Do eight to 16 reps.

m Knee-tuck to chest

Targets shoulders, chest, hips, glutes and abs. Place hands shoulder-width apart on a stability ball, head in alignment with shoulders, extending legs to back, toes on floor. Contract abdominals, tucking knee in toward chest. Pause and return leg to original position. Perform eight to 16 reps and then repeat with opposite leg. If you need more stability, place ball against a wall.

Varying exercise routine spurs fitness, alleviates boredom 09/24/13 [Last modified: Tuesday, September 24, 2013 11:44am]
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