We all know consistency with exercise is essential to making positive health changes. But is there such a thing as being too consistent? When it comes to doing the same workout over and over, the answer is “Yes!” While you want to remain consistent with exercise, you don’t want to complete the same routine month in and month out. Keep reading as we answer questions like, “Do you have to change up your workout routine? What are the best ways to vary my physical activity?” and more!
Do You Have to Change Up Your Workout Routine?
As we mentioned, yes, you need to change up your workout routine for optimal results. If you are on a weight loss journey, you may have started out walking a few miles daily to help you lose weight. This routine was probably helpful at first. However, you may notice now that it doesn’t seem as effective because your body has gotten used to it, causing you to hit a weight loss plateau.
This same principle applies to everyone, whether trying to lose a few pounds, gain core strength, tone muscles, or train for a marathon. You can’t keep doing the same thing forever and expect it to keep working – you must vary your physical activity to keep seeing results.
Why Should I Change Up My Workout Routine?
As we just touched on, you need to change up your workout routine because your body grows accustomed to it, causing you to “plateau.” But let’s explore this question by looking at additional reasons for changing your routine.
- Prevents Overuse Injuries and Allows For Healing Time
If you do the same workout day after day, you risk experiencing an overuse injury or repetitive stress injury. This injury can happen when one muscle does the same motion repetitively. So, if your routine consists of only swimming, playing tennis, or other specific workouts, you have a greater risk of experiencing an overuse injury. Instead, if you switch up your activities, you allow your muscles recovery time, avoiding injuries. If you do get hurt, completing a different workout (that doesn’t involve that part of your body) lets you heal while maintaining your fitness.
- Provides Complete Training
I advise everyone to participate in cross-training, a fancy term for integrating various types of exercise into your workout routine. Simply put, don’t do the same things all the time. Cross-training helps build new muscles, ensuring you have a healthy heart, strong core, powerful upper body, and muscular legs.
- Helps Make Your Workouts More Exciting
You will eventually get bored if you only do the treadmill, elliptical, or another activity day in and day out. And boredom often leads to people giving up on exercise. I recommend keeping things fresh and exciting by varying your workout routine. Sign up for an exciting fitness class or run outside while enjoying the scenery – doing so can make a big difference!
- Provides Excellent Mental Health Benefits
We know that exercise is fundamental to keeping your brain sharp. But did you know learning new workout skills can help your neurons fire more efficiently? To get the full mental health benefits, you should choose an activity that keeps you engaged and not just “going through the motions.” For some people, this may be ballroom dancing, following a challenging YouTube fitness video, or trying new strength training exercises – what’s cool is that you get to choose what works for you.
- Allows You to Explore New Fitness Opportunities
If you never try anything new, how will you know if there are other activities that you may enjoy? Who knows, you may fall in love with yoga, kickboxing, or a new sport. Mix things up and give it a chance!
How Often Do I Need to Change Up My Workout Routine?
While you don’t have to change up your entire routine this often, you should aim to change up elements of your workout every four to six weeks. This adjustment can be as simple as adding reps or increasing speed, resistance, or workout length.
Also, I recommend listening to your body. If the routine still feels challenging after four weeks, stick with it a little longer. However, it is time for a change if things have become easy and you can finish your workout on autopilot.
What Are the Best Ways to Vary My Physical Activity?
So, you started out wondering, “Do you have to change up your workout routine?” Now that we know you should, you may be curious about how to do just that.
While there is no exact answer that fits everyone, here are some excellent recommendations:
- Change up your strength training exercises. For example, do a hammer curl instead of a bicep curl.
- Increase your speed and intensity. To reiterate: Your workout should challenge you!
- Exercise for longer. Adding time to your routine can make a big difference.
- Add weight and reps to keep things interesting.
- Mix strength training with your cardio workout.
- Try something completely new, like a new sport or fitness class.
Quick note: I recommend consulting your healthcare provider before beginning a new exercise routine. Also, beginners should use a conservative approach to avoid injuries.
Do you have to change up your workout routine? Yes, yes, yes! You must increase the demands on your body, or it will never get stronger and more efficient. It’s all about progression!
While progression may feel challenging, it’s important to remember that you are capable of more than you think. Pushing past your limits, physically and beyond, is the key to success.
To learn more about pushing past your limits and overcoming adversity, check out my book Thriving in the Storm: Nine Principles to Help You Overcome Any Adversity.