Why is variety important for fitness routines?

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JC Pinzon
Fitness

Variety is important for mental and physiological reasons. The mind needs variety in movement and any fitness class. Boredom often happens when people lose interest in exercise. Doing different routines is exciting and prevents boredom. The body also needs different exercises so it doesn't adapt to the same stress placed on the muscles and bones. Different systems of energy are also used when we move and therefore different exercises will change the pace of the heart. Multiplanar movements will stimulate all muscles evenly thus reducing injury risk. Make your fitness class playful but structured.

Variety is important in a fitness program because it allows for your body to be challenged on a consistent basis and to overcome a plateau. A plateau happens when the body has become accustom or used to doing the same repeated exercises over and over again .To overcome a plateau the mixture of new exercises and placing new demands on the body will increase the intensity in addition to promoting new muscle growth. A fitness expert can put variety in your fitness program and customize it towards your fitness goals for maximum results.

In physiology, there is a term called the SAID principle. The SAID stands for Specific Adaptation to Imposed Demands. This simply states that the body will adapt to the specific demands that are placed on it. When you train by lifting very heavy weights to gain maximal strength your body will respond accordingly and adapt. If you train to run long distances at a slow pace, your body will adapt to that change as well. Variety in to an exercise program allows the body to adapt to many demands, from high intensity exercise to slow, steady state exercise.

Investment-minded people know one of the best ways to strengthen a long-term financial portfolio is to diversify investments. Investing your money in a variety of financial interests can help ensure your money won't disappear in an unpredictable market.

It's easy to think of fitness the same way. Diversify your fitness portfolio now and your health will be less likely to disappear in the future. Exercise variety will help decrease your risk of heart disease, arthritis, disability, and even some kinds of cancer. In fact, recent data suggest that regularly engaging in a range of physical activities decreases all-cause mortality rates.

One of the biggest mistakes people make with their exercise program is not including enough variety. Research shows that diversifying your workout routine offers greater payoffs than sticking to the same moves for years on end. That's because exercise variety maximizes benefits and minimizes obstacles to working out, such as injuries, plateaus, and boredom.

What's the Right Mix?

Although your optimal balance of aerobic and strength training may vary slightly, depending on your age, a good rule of thumb is to strive for equal amounts of the two each week, integrating flexibility exercises into every workout.

Although the ratios of the different types of exercise should stay fairly constant, you can add variables to optimize your exercise program and maximize your results. These variables include intensity, frequency, duration, and variety within the exercise type.

  • Intensity is measured by the percentage of your maximum heart rate you reach during an activity.
  • Frequency refers to how often you perform an activity.
  • Duration refers to the amount of time spent performing an activity.
  • Variety refers to the number of different exercises you perform for a specific exercise type -- for example, the number of different cardiovascular exercises you do or the number of different strength-training exercises you do.

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    Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.