Are you struggling to exercise regularly? Perhaps you dread going to the gym, or you don’t like at home workout videos. Maybe, you’ve never really enjoyed exercising and just find it boring.
You’re not alone. Some research suggests that genetic factors may cause some people to respond differently to exercise. For instance, a person may not get the same endorphin rush, making exercise not as rewarding to the brain.
Before you blame genetics or give up, you can still overcome your struggle and even learn to enjoy exercising.
Working out doesn’t have to be about going to the gym, lifting weights, using confusing machines, or running at a local park. Ideally, you will look forward to exercising because it helps you feel better physically and emotionally.
The essential step is finding types of exercise that get you moving and help you feel rejuvenated—and they’re out there! To find them, you may need to think outside the box, try some things, and maybe venture outside your comfort zone once or twice. The reward is that you’ll find the joy and peace in exercising and know you’re helping your health.
So whether you dread exercising, you’re looking for ways to get started, or you’re bored with your routine, try one (or more) of these five strategies to add the fun back into your workouts.
1. Mix Up Your Usual Routine
Trying a new exercise or activity to vary your routine is one of the quickest and easiest ways to overcome workout boredom. If you workout at a gym, try new equipment or take a new exercise class. You may find that you like the activity, and you can rotate it into your routine.
If you workout at home, try a new online course or completely different type of exercise. There are so many kinds of activities available; you’re sure to be able to find something new to you. You could even try getting a new piece of equipment or complete your home workout outside. If you typically run or bike, try a new route.
Varying your routine not only helps prevent boredom but also can help your body and mind. When you do the same tasks the same way, your body adapts to the activity and becomes more efficient. The result is that you may not burn as many calories doing it as you did before, which can lead to a weight-loss plateau.
Doing the same workout also increases your risk of overuse injuries. Varying the type of activities you do can limit the strain placed on the same parts of your body.
2. Change the Intensity of Your Workout
Another way to change up your workout routine is to increase the intensity of some of your moves. You can add in intervals or high-intensity periods, where you give full effort for short bursts followed by a short recovery period. Incorporating high-intensity moves can also help increase the fat-burning effectiveness of your exercises. You can add the high-intensity approach to either cardio workouts or strength training.
Another strategy is to transform your workout into a circuit. This approach can keep your workout moving faster, as well. With a circuit workout, you perform four or five exercises back to back with no breaks in between. Next, you rest for a minute or two. Lastly, you repeat the circuit a few more times. When setting up a circuit, try to incorporate both upper and lower body exercises, so you get a full-body workout.
3. Set a New Goal
If you’re getting bored, consider setting yourself a new exercise goal. Maybe you want to run in a local 5K event for the first time, or perhaps you want to join a local adult sports team such as baseball, basketball, or tennis. If you’ve always wanted to swim better, you could take adult lessons and set a goal like continuously swimming a certain number of laps.
Setting a new goal can help get you rejuvenated and excited about exercising, plus help you work on new skills.
4. Create a Workout Network
If possible, find a workout buddy. You and your workout partner will be more motivated to exercise consistently. You’ll have someone to give you a nudge when you’re not feeling like exercising, and it can make your workouts more fun.
When looking for a workout partner, try to find someone who has similar goals, commitment level, and schedule to make it easy to plan time to exercise together. You don’t have to work out together every time. You may decide to exercise together once a week and then check in during the week to ensure you both followed through on other days.
Creating a workout network can also help you meet new people and grow your social support network. Many cities offer free or low-cost exercise classes, like the Stronger Austin organization in Austin, Texas. Some even provide exercise options that can include all your family members. You can contact your city or local community center to see what types of programs may be available in your area.
5. Try Doing Your Normal Exercises in New Ways
Do you run on a treadmill for most of your cardio workouts? Maybe you lift free-weights for strength training days. Try to take some of your regular exercises and perform them in new ways or with different equipment to shake things up.
For instance, try running backward on the treadmill or going in reverse on the elliptical for a minute (safely—use the handrails, and you may need to drop your speed). You’ll be working different muscles in different ways. You’ll need to focus on this unusual task, which gets your brain involved and makes you more present during your workout.
If you usually use the same weights for your weight training exercises, try to find an alternative activity or different way to use your weights. If possible, change your free weights for kettlebells or other devices.
You can also try spreading out your workout throughout the day occasionally, as short 10-minute workouts.
Varying Your Workout Routine Keeps It Fun
It can be challenging to exercise consistently if you’re bored with your routine or never really enjoyed working out. Fortunately, exercising doesn’t have to be a chore. You don’t have to go to the gym, run on a treadmill, or lift weights. Activities that get you moving are a step in the right direction.
The more you start doing activities you like, the easier it gets to stay motivated. So whether you’re bored with your routine or trying to get an exercise habit started, look for ways to vary your workouts and add in fun. You can set a new goal, try a new activity, exercise with a buddy, or challenge yourself to workout in new ways. You also may discover a new activity that you enjoy.