The Fittest Americans Do 5 Different Workouts a Week, Because Variety Is the Sporty Spice of Life

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Indulge me in a thought experiment, and pretend (just pretend!) that you had to eat the same meal every single day, three times a day. Even if it was, like, the best stir-fry in human history, you'd probably get sick of it—and fast. New research shows that the same logic goes for your exercise schedule. In fact, the fittest of them all find a way to do five different types of workouts per week.

Published recently in the journal Translational Behavioral Medicine, the study analyzed the workout habits of more than 9,800 participants who participated in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey between 2003 and 2006. After parsing through all the data, Susan Malone, PhD, lead author of the study and an assistant professor of nursing at New York University, found that the more varieties of exercise participants enjoyed, the more they fulfilled the United States exercise recommendations and the fitter they were overall.

"When encouraging their patients to exercise, clinicians should not just ask about frequency, but also what types of physical activities their patients do. They may even suggest engaging in a variety of activities," Malone said in a news release," said Dr. Malone in a news release shared by U.S. News and World Report. Like the lesson you learned from day-of-the-week underwear of your youth, it really is best to freshen things up every 24 hours or so. And thus, it's time to start dabbling in modalities you thought you would never enjoy.

Aside from making you a more holistically healthy human being, changing up your workouts is also a habit that will help you stay active for many years to come. “If you run every day, for example, then you are doing thousands of repetitions of the same movements, using the same joints in the same direction,” trainer Jeanette Jenkins, previously told Well+Good. “To avoid overuse injuries, it’s important to work all of the components of fitness.” But hey, don't take my word for it—try it for yourself.

5 days worth of *very* different workouts that prove the power of changing your workouts as much as possible

Day 1: Solidcore lower body workout

Sorry, but we're going to kick off day one with a shake-inducing lower body workout that harnesses the evil—ahem, I mean power—of the sliders. This is one of those exercise routines that targets your body's tiniest muscles for big strength gains. Ready?

Day 2: Heart-opening yoga flow

Since your legs are pretty sore from yesterday, a restorative, spine-centric yoga sequence will treat your body right.

Day 3: Resistance band arm workout

Arms, don't think we forgot you. Grab your resistance band and go for the slow burn with Simone De La Rue, founder of Body By Simone.

Day 4: Jump rope

Alright, it's cardio time. If you've never heard of a "jump rope squat," you're in for a fitness awakening, my friend.

day 5: Pilates core and glute-centric workout

The only two muscles groups we haven't hit are your glutes and abs, so here you go! For the most effective Pilates sesh, make sure you're not rushing the movements.

To recover from your hard week of workouts, pick the recovery tool that's just right for you and don't skimp on sleep

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