Being physically active and limiting your sedentary behaviour every day is essential for health and wellbeing. I often get asked about my exercise routine, which I am hesitant on giving out as everyone is different and there is no one schedule that fits all answer. But what I would like to get across is the key to how I have kept active and fit since I can remember. Variety! I have always mixed up the exercise I do in my weekly fitness training.
Variety is key in a good exercise plan. If you are doing the same thing over and over, you will burn out and not be able to maintain it long term. When your body has adapted to what you are doing, you will likely plateau in your results too. Whether you are running the same run every day or following the same routine at your gym, when you do the same exercises, hitting the same muscles at each workout, you’re likely to stop seeing and feeling progress.
Mixing things up can increase your enthusiasm, engagement, and effort giving you a more effective and enjoyable session. Changing up your exercise not only improves mental stimulation but also helps ensure that you are working every muscle group, helps you avoid ruts and also avoid injuries. People who don’t vary their routines enough and for example, run every day, often find they get knee, hip or foot injuries. When you mix up your workouts you avoid using the same joints each time which prevents overuse and injuries. The best way to vary your exercise is by cross-training and mixing classes up.
A balanced fitness program includes:
- Strength training to improve bone, joint function, bone density, muscle, tendon and ligament strength (read about the benefits of strength training here)
- Low intensity everyday activity like walking
- Cardio / aerobic exercise to improve your heart and lung fitness
- Yoga / Pilates for core activation, flexibility, balance, deep stretching, mental benefits
An example of a week of my training is (I train at Progression Fitness Club in Melbourne where they run a variety of different classes for the one membership, details and link below):
MONDAY – Strength class
TUESDAY – Yoga class, take a walk or ride my bike
WEDNESDAY – Boxing or Sweat HIT or Cycle class
THURSDAY – Strength class
FRIDAY – Pilates class or take a walk or ride my bike
SATURDAY – Sweat HIT class or Cycle class
SUNDAY – Take a walk, do yoga or ride my bike
* Everybody is different though and has different goals. Some may want to include more long walks or more running, some like to exercise more, some like to exercise less. Find your healthy balance which you enjoy doing, while keeping in mind the Australian guidelines for all adults (18 – 64 years):
Physical Activity Guidelines
- Doing any physical activity is better than doing none. If you currently do no physical activity, start by doing some and gradually build up to the recommended amount.
- Be active on most, preferably all, days every week.
- Accumulate 150 to 300 minutes (2 ½ to 5 hours) of moderate intensity physical activity or 75 to 150 minutes (1 ¼ to 2 ½ hours) of vigorous intensity physical activity, or an equivalent combination of both moderate and vigorous activities, each week.
- Do muscle strengthening activities on at least 2 days each week.
For more guidelines please visit:
So try to mix up your fitness routine by trying different classes, sports and exercises. It will help you avoid plateaus, deliver better full-body results and also make your time exercising more interesting. The greater the combination of fitness/classes you can include, especially when you mix cardio work, weight training and yoga/stretching – the more benefits you’ll reap.