I’m pretty sure that the vast majority of us set a new year’s (or new week) resolution to start exercising at some point. The thing is we keep going back to the same old routines we’ve tried before and haven’t stuck with. Well, isn’t that the definition of insanity? Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results! There’s a reason you didn’t stick to your previous routine and let me tell you, it isn’t a lack of will power! Your routine isn’t right for you! Finding the right type of exercise can make all the difference in the world to long term success! Why not try something different, check out these workouts that will keep you exercising!
Trial and Error
Any change can be difficult, so you need to give it about 4 – 6 weeks at first before you move on to something new. Once you’ve gotten that initial month or so in feel free to jump around every 2 – 3 weeks. Just try to keep the time of day you workout as similar as possible. This will help you form the habit by re-wiring your brain to work out. Yes… I did just say “re-wiring your brain”. That’s really how it works!
When you exercise daily at a similar time your brain creates new neuropathways that make you automatically want to exercise at that time of day. This makes it MUCH easier to stick with the plan (no matter what it is).
All Exercise IS Created Equal
For the purposes of improving quality of life, health and disease prevention assume ALL exercise is created equal! Technically you don’t even need to do any structured exercise, you just need to move your body for 30 minutes a day.
This means there’s no need to bite off more than you can chew. Don’t rush into intense, high level classes, if you aren’t ready. Start where you’re at! Start with something that’s doable but a bit of a stretch.
Oftentimes the reason we fail to stick to our exercise plans is because of injury or frustration. If you really are a couch potato try walking before training for a 5k! If you’ve never lifted weights, try lifting your body weight before you pick up a barbell. And whatever you do… make it fun!
Try Something New: 11 Workouts That Will Keep You Exercising
So, this year if you want to stick to your exercise and fitness goals get out of your rut and try something new! Maybe even something you’ve never tried before! To get you started on the right track here are some awesome options!
Barre is a great way to create long lean muscle, strengthen your core and work smaller muscles that often get missed in strength training. It relies on small movements and positions that cause muscles to strengthen without the risk of tearing or injury. It’s a great workout for novices and beginners alike and requires no special gear! But that doesn’t mean it’s easy. Barre will have your muscles so fatigued you’ll be quivering!
Everyone is different regarding results but you’re likely to see improvements in posture, deeper connection to your body and toned muscle. Depending on your starting point you could notice changes in just a few weeks, or it may take a year. Don’t be discouraged though, not seeing results in the mirror doesn’t mean your health isn’t being impacted positively!
2. Dance Jam or Zumba
There are few more fun ways to pass the time and get your heart rate up than dancing! Dance Jam and Zumba are both fun ways to get your cardio in! That said, not all of us feel coordinated enough to attend a class… I know, I’m one of those people! It’s ok though! Most people in a cardio dance class aren’t professional dancers either and many are far less coordinated than you! The most important thing isn’t to get all the steps perfect, it’s just to keep moving. With awesome beats and fun simple moves, what’s not to love about a good dance workout!
You can try this workout at home or in a gym. In my opinion it’s a lot more fun and easier to follow in person but if you prefer to work out at home, give it a shot. There are tons of options from YouTube videos to workout streaming apps and you can even get a great workout with a WII and Dance Party game!
3. Dance Classes
While we’re talking about Dance Jam and Zumba, let me suggest that you could simply take a dance class! Check out your local recreation center or dance studio for adult beginner classes and sign up. And let me tell you, it’s WAY more fun with friends! A few years ago, several of the women in my neighborhood and I signed up for a tap class at the community center. We had an amazing time and made some new friends there as well.
Keep in mind, this isn’t going to provide the same cardio benefits but it’s a great way to get moving and try something new! Plus, since It’s typically only 1 day a week it’s easy to fit it into even the busiest schedule!
4. HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training)
Have you heard of HIIT yet? It’s one of the best (and fastest) ways to get your cardio in! You basically go from one exercise to the next super-fast and do as many reps as you can in the time allotted. HIIT is tough and demanding but it’s over before you know it! That’s why it’s become my favorite form of cardio! I’m all about 15 – 20 minutes of all out work and having it over with. You see, I’m often pressed for time and cardio isn’t my fave, so I like to get it over with. Whether you’re like me or you’re a cardio junkie looking to mix it up, HIIT is a must try! Just be mindful of working to your max, not someone else’s! If something doesn’t feel right to you, modify it. It’s important to make your workout work for you!
5. Cardio Kickboxing
This is a fun way to let out some aggression and get in a workout. I’m a BIG fan! And, if I have the time, you’ll find me kickboxing or at a dance jam class. This class is a great upper and lower body workout and is sure to get the heart pumping. Think more MMA and less standard boxing! For your lower body, rather than doing a lot of jump roping, running or stair climbing like Rocky, you’ll be doing kicking and blocking like Bruce Lee. Some classes are held in a boxing studio with heavy bags or punching bags, but most are in typical fitness studios with no equipment. This makes cardio kickboxing an excellent home workout as well!
6. Boot Camp
Fitness boot camps are a great way to kick off your workout program or take it up a notch! They typically include some type of strength work along with cardio. Often, they follow a HIIT format but are usually an hour long. That said, there are a variety of Boot Camp programs out there and if you look hard enough, I’m sure you’ll find one that’s a perfect fit!
Because these are smaller classes, they tend to fill up quickly so you’ll want to sign up for one ahead of time. You should also ask for references and get as much information as you can about what the program is like before you commit. Usually you pay in advance for the duration of the course. But your money will be well spent! These programs are typically run by personal trainers. And, they know who you are! They expect you to attend! This creates a level of accountability few other fitness options do.
I ALWAYS recommend yoga! Listen, it’s one of the best twofers you can get! Yoga will get you connected with your body and breath and it gives you an excellent opportunity for meditation. Plus, it’s an extremely effective workout. I know, it looks like you’re just standing there all contorted like a pretzel, but it’s tough.
Traditional yoga often burns more calories per hour than any other exercise! And, talk about detox… nothing will make you sweat more! You don’t have to be super flexible or have amazing balance to try it out. You’ll get better as you go, and that’s the whole point!
Yoga is great for your posture, bone health, strength and agility. It helps prevent injury in everyday life and all your other activities and exercise endeavors. Interestingly the increase in self-awareness caused by a regular practice also helps you make healthy food and life choices. And, in my opinion one of the best aspects of yoga is that it makes you more aware of and focused on what your body can do rather than what it looks like!
Like yoga, weightlifting can become much more about what your body can do than what it looks like. Don’t’ get me wrong, both will give you a toned, fit look but feeling strong is the absolute BEST!
Strength training is often overlooked by but particularly important for women. It helps tremendously with bone health. Having strong muscles is imperative to preventing injury later in life.
Of course, you can’t talk about strength training for women without addressing the bulking myth! Let me be frank, since people often want to tip-toe around it. Unless you’re taking steroids or testosterone you are NOT going to “bulk up” from strength training. REALLY… even if you lift the heavy weights… you will NOT look like a man! What you will do though is increase your confidence, improve the shape and condition of your body and increase your metabolic rate. You might weigh more but you’ll be smaller, and you’ll be able to eat A LOT more. Your body needs more calories to maintain muscle and it burns more doing it! So, for example, if you want to be in your 60’s eating 1500 calories a day and a size 6 with no bone fractures, I suggest you start lifting!
Save yourself a lot of time and trouble! Hire a personal trainer! They will devise workouts that benefit your whole body in less time, teach you to use the equipment properly and make sure you have proper form!
Weightlifting can sometimes show up on the scale as weight gain even though you’re dropping sizes! This is because muscle is more dense than fat so, it takes up less space but weighs more. It might be time to toss the scale in favor of a more useful measure of your progress, your health!
9. Swimming / Aqua Aerobics
We often ignore the best exercise around because we think of it as inconvenient. But if you’re a water person (or think you might be), give swimming or aqua aerobics a shot. Pools are available year-round and often have lap times established for exercise. You can check you community center or local Y for availability. And while you’re at it, look into aqua aerobics classes as well. They pack a heck of a workout! The water provides resistance work and there’s no impact. These classes are optimal for all ages and you don’t even have to know how to swim. Just grab a spot in the shallow end!
10. Cross-Country Skiing
Cross-Country skiing is often listed as the 2nd best exercise! Again, there is no impact and plenty of resistance. Plus, this is a great way to get outside during the cold winter months. And let me tell you, time spent outside had tremendous health benefits!
The one drawback to this super fun activity tends to be equipment. Don’t let that stop you though. There are many ski clubs and facilities that rent equipment and offer lessons! I suggest both if you’re a beginner. Once you’ve tried it a couple times, you’ll probably have a pretty good idea as to whether it’s for you or not. Then you’ll know whether you want to make the investment. If so, you can always purchase used equipment to save some money. I highly recommend skis for ungroomed trails. It’s much easier to get out and do it if you don’t have to find pristine trails.
And, if skiing isn’t your thing, try snow shoeing! It makes a world of difference to have an outdoor activity you enjoy in the winter!
You might be surprised to see this one on the list. After all, it’s so simple! You’re right, it is! That’s why it’s so often overlooked! Your exercise routine can easily consist of a morning walk with friends or an evening stroll. This is an awesome place to start. And even if you are already an avid exerciser adding a walk into your routine can be a nice way to kick it up a notch without pushing too hard. Walking is an excellent form of exercise and always listed in the top 3! Due to access and the lack of equipment needed it’s often #1. There’s simply NO excuse not to exercise with walking on the list!
With so many options to choose from you’re sure to have plenty to keep you occupied. And you definitely won’t get bored! The thing is, often simply having variety helps us to stick with an exercise routine! Plus, whether you prefer the gym, working out from home or getting outdoors there’s plenty to choose from! So, whatever you decide to try first, get started! Don’t wait!
The best way to stick with an exercise routine is to have a workout partner! Share this post and enlist a friend in your fitness journey!