So you like to exercise but some days you’re just not feeling it. Just not motivated. Just not interested in exercise. This lack of motivation to exercise affects many people, even professional fitness trainers. If you have a regular exercise routine, you will eventually feel like you’re going through the motions and just exercising to get it done. Your body has probably adapted to the exercise routine and you’re not seeing any progression. This can create boredom for the exercise and may cause you to stop.
Being stuck in a rut is a fitness trainer’s biggest challenge to help their customer overcome. Here are a few ideas to help get you out of your exercise rut, courtesy of the American Council on Exercise (ACE).
Add variety to your routine. A lack of variety and progression in your exercise routine can create a rut. If you’re doing the same type of exercise every week, try adding another type in your week. For example, I have a few water exercise customers that have started to use strength machines on land to complement their water exercise. If you do strength training exercises, you can increase the resistance and lower the repetitions to focus on muscle strength versus using low resistance and higher repetitions for muscle endurance. If you run on a treadmill for aerobic exercise, you can alternate with another cardio machine like an elliptical or bike.
Exercise outside. We’ve had some great spring weather that I’m hoping will happen occasionally in the summer months. On days when it feels like we’re spending our summer in Canada, get outside and enjoy the low humidity and temperatures. Research has shown that exercising outside in natural environments decreases tension, confusion, anger and depression.
Move in different planes of motion. Do you just naturally move forward in your day? I don’t. Sometimes I have to sidestep, step backwards or even rotate my body when getting my daily activities done. Exercising in these various planes of motion will not only help you function better in your day, it will also help to get you out of your exercise rut. If all you do is bicycle in what’s called a sagittal plane of motion, you should add an exercise that moves you in the other planes. For example, playing a sport like tennis, volleyball, and basketball can move you differently. You can also take advantage of different movements in the pool this summer. When swimming laps don’t just front crawl. Swim the sidestroke, breaststroke, backstroke and tread water. Include water walking in your swimming routine. If you only do vertical water exercises, try horizontal swimming. If you don’t know how to swim, start with a pool noodle under your arms and chest, lay on your belly and doggie paddle.
Don’t let being stuck in an exercise rut discourage you. Here’s to your great health.
Jonathan Souder is the Fitness Director at Manor House, an Acts Retirement-Life Community in Seaford, Delaware. This column appeared in the July 4, 2019 edition of the Seaford Star.