Oh, the drudgery of hamster wheel cardio. If you’ve been struggling to exercise consistently, don’t be afraid to try something you haven’t done before.
If you enjoy exercising, but can’t stand the monotonous nature of running or being on an elliptical, then you aren’t alone. Exercising should be an enjoyable, uplifting activity, not a mind-numbing torture experience. Luckily, there are other ways to obtain fitness than repetitive workouts.
It’s not a glorified dance routine. When you show up to class, you better be ready to work! Zumba is great for those who like to dance because it won’t “feel” much like a workout, since you’ll be having fun. It’s also versatile. If you’re a beginner, do the moves slowly, find your comfort zone and try to push it gradually with each session. Advanced trainees can also find benefit, since you control your own intensity of each workout. Zumba has expanded lately with classes tailored to seniors and children. It now can even involve some resistance training.
Squats, presses, rows, swings – there are dozens of moves and workouts that can be made with one piece of equipment. Kettle bells, a cast-iron weight, will not only increase your heart rate and caloric expenditure, but will also cause muscular damage. This means you’re doing more than burning calories – you’re actually sculpting a better body. Use them for a quick and efficient total body workout.
Weightlifting doesn’t always mean heavy loads. You can use resistance training in an aerobic-type manner to both burn calories and stimulate muscle growth. Circuits may include two to three minutes of work followed by one to two minutes of rest, and then repeat. The best part is being in control of the workout. Pick exercises you enjoy doing, and you will tend to work much harder. Squats, lunges, box jumps, kettlebell swings, medicine ball throws, TRX bands and more! Keep workouts relatively short (less than 45 minutes), so intensity can remain high.
Ask yourself if you’re you excited to work out, or just doing it to fit into your new jeans. It’s a common misconception that if there’s no pain, there’s no gain. False. There are too many ways to exercise to settle for less than something you look forward to. Once you find that, exercise is no longer a struggle. You’ll feel excited when you arrive at the gym and accomplished when you leave. Before you know it, you’ll be an exercise addict, just like me.