Recent research suggests it’s time to take another approach to staying fit. If you’ve been sticking to a certain kind of workout and have either gotten bored or have hit a progress plateau, here are some easy ways to improve your exercise experience and the benefits you gain.
Start early. Research shows that 75 percent of those who work out in the morning do so regularly, compared with just half the afternoon exercisers and one quarter of the after-work group. If you have the ability to rearrange your schedule to fit in just a few morning sessions per week, you’ll find the consistency will translate into improved results. Not only will you find fewer excuses to skip your workout in the early morning, you’ll start the day with improved cognitive abilities.
Start your workout with weight training rather than a cardio session. Strength training takes coordination and proper technique for maximum results. You’ll get more out of it if you start fresh. Follow it up with cardio within 20 minutes. A recent study from the University of Tokyo indicated that those who performed a cardio workout within 20 minutes of weight lifting burned more of their fat stores than those who took a longer break before beginning cardio or those who don’t train with weights. Besides that, cardio is generally a repetitive, low-skill activity. Aerobic exercise is easier to do in a fatigued state than strength training.
Want to continue burning fat after your workout? Increase the intensity of your cardio and you will burn fat for several hours afterward. Studies that contrast high and low intensity workouts show that greater success comes from increased effort. A good way to ease into this concept is to try alternating between fast-paced activities for one minute, then allowing for recovery the next. Build on this formula to improve your results.
Maintaining a long-term relationship with fitness can pose a challenge. You don’t have to overhaul your life to work off calories, rev up your metabolism, or tone your body.
Sometimes, small changes can provide the needed boost to keep you moving toward your fitness goals.
- Pam Brooks