Are you finding it difficult to get out of bed in the morning
for your daily walk and making up excuses to skip the gym on the way home? Even
the most dedicated exercisers occasionally get bored with their routine. Waning
motivation, cutting workouts short and not having your old enthusiasm all are
signs of a stale exercise regimen.
First, evaluate your current routine to determine what really bores you. A new
variation on your favorite activity — such as cardio-funk or kickboxing instead
of step aerobics, or hoisting free weights instead of working on machines — may
be enough to reinvigorate a stale routine.
If you've always worked out indoors, logging miles on a
treadmill, stairclimber or stationary bike, move your workout outside for a
welcome change of scenery. Run, hike or bike on trails; swim in a lake or ocean.
When tweaking your routine isn't enough, make bigger changes. Take up an
entirely new activity — especially something you never thought you'd do. If
you’ve always stuck to solitary pursuits, sign up for a team sport, such as
volleyball, basketball or even doubles tennis. Or tackle something you’ve always
shied away from — indulge your thirst for adventure with a rock-climbing class
(start on an indoor wall, then move to the real thing as your skills improve).
Working out alone often is an oasis of solitude in a busy day, but maybe you
need some company. Exercise companions add a social element to any routine. Ask
a friend to be your workout partner—you won't skip a workout if someone is
waiting for you.
Just about every sport or activity has a club; to find one,
ask around at gyms or local community centers. Keeping up with the crowd also
means you'll be challenged to improve your skills. Ask about organized workouts
and fun runs offered by local track clubs, as well as group rides hosted by
Many exercisers work out simply to stay in shape, and most of the time that’s
just fine. But setting a goal, such as finishing a 10K race or completing a
rough-water swim, will give your daily workouts more meaning.
Start by incorporating bursts of speed into your workouts.
After a gentle warm-up, alternate a fast pace with a slower one for recovery.
This can be as simple as sprinting to the next tree, or as structured as running
intervals on a track or sprinting laps in the pool.
Elite triathletes pioneered the cross-training concept, and it works for the
rest of us, too. If you usually focus on one activity, substitute another a few
days a week. Ideally, any exercise program includes elements of cardiovascular
exercise, weight training and flexibility.
Small exercise gadgets aren't necessary, but they can make your workouts more
fun and challenging. Heart-rate monitors, aquatic toys and safety equipment are
just a few items to consider. Find out which new training gadgets are available
for your favorite activity.
Take a break
Sometimes you really do need time off. In that case, cut back on your usual
routine, and substitute other activities. You might even find one that you enjoy
more than your old favorites.
Once you've fought your first battle with boredom, you'll know
the tricks to keep exercise from becoming too routine. Trying new sports, new
classes and new activities — and learning how to throw a little variety into old
favorites — can help you overcome the nagging inclination to devise those
creative excuses for not working out.