“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,” says Jeanette Jenkins, trainer and Marshalls rep. “To avoid overuse injuries, it’s important to work all of the components of fitness.” This means trying to get a healthy mix of different fitness modalities like Pilates with running or spinning with yoga that incorporate stretching, strength training, and cardio.
Switching things up can also help prevent you from falling into a fitness plateau, AKA when your body has reached a standstill with how you’re working out. “Your body is very smart and it will learn how to become efficient at doing the same movements,” says Jenkins. Doing different workouts lets you recruit different muscle fibers, she explains. Inevitably, this helps you to build strength and really start to see progress in your training.
That’s not to say you have to start doing a type of workout that you hate, though. You’ve just got to find your favorite workout’s cousin. “When you find a fitness program that you enjoy, sometimes there are similar workouts that offer different benefits,” says Kenta Seki, a master trainer at Aaptiv. Keep scrolling for tips on how to find a workout you love that could wind up being your next favorite.
If you love yoga, try Pilates: Seki notes that these two workouts both focus on form and breath control, but they challenge your body in different ways. “Yoga generally focuses a bit more on flexibility, while Pilates generally focuses more on toning,” he says.
If you love Pilates, try barre: As a fan of low-impact Pilates, Seki recommends trying a barre class. “Barre is very similar to Pilates in that it focuses on posture and toning, but adds a bit more of a cardio component.”
If you love running, try the elliptical: Running day in and day out can feel old, sure, but it can also tax your joints with all the impact. “I encourage trying the elliptical since it still challenges your cardio endurance but the ability to use arms on the machine also helps strengthen your upper body,” says Seki.
If you love the stair climber, try hiking: If your cardio of choice is the stair climber, you can switch things up by taking your workout outdoors. “Walking up hills or even sand dunes can really challenge your legs in a similar way,” says Seki. Plus being outside will be way less monotonous than climbing up those steps in the gym.
If you love CrossFit, try obstacle races: “CrossFit can sometimes lack multi-planar movements,” says Seki, who says outdoor obstacle races could be a fun challenge to take up. “They are still challenging and competitive, while adding in the outdoor factor and more functional full body movements,” he says.
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