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Exercise That Isn’t Boring – How To Plan Effective Exercise

Exercise That Isn’t Boring – How To Plan Effective Exercise

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Are you getting bored with your fitness routine? Are you trying to find new ways to enjoy exercise that you enjoy? If you have a fitness routine that you have been repeating for weeks or months, it might start feeling stale. Or maybe you are trying to find out how to exercise if you hate the gym! We are here to help you plan an exercise routine that isn’t boring so that we can keep you engaged and progressing.

In any case, there are options that you can try out to vary your routine and new exercises to try. We will look at some tips and techniques to make exercise less boring.

Adding Variety To Your Workouts

Guy Riding Road Bike on Mountain RoadDepending on what your fitness goals are, you might have tried the gym. A normal gym can be a great tool to help you achieve your fitness goals. However, if you feel you are getting bored with it, there are plenty of other ways you can get fit without the gym. After all, exercise should be fun. Think variety and fun!

Cycling is a great way to get outdoors and get in a great workout. Clearly, cycling involves a bike and helmet, so if you don’t have access to these items then this could present a problem. However, if you do have access then you should give it a try. Feel the joy of wind hitting your face as you peddle around town. Cycling is a great exercise to develop strong legs, a solid core, and a great cardiovascular system.

How about swimming? Have you ever jumped in a pool for fitness, rather than just fun? Swimming can be a great exercise tool to develop total body fitness. It doesn’t require much in the way of equipment, really just a swimsuit and a good pair of goggles. You can add equipment such as a swim pull buoy to help keep your legs up while you focus on your upper body. You could also look into a kickboard if you want to primarily focus on your hips and legs.

Want something different than running? How about you pick up hiking. This can be a good way to get some exercise while enjoying nature. Hiking with a purpose (and with weight as you progress) is an excellent routine to vary up your workout and provide challenges along with variety. Try not to loof around the trail, rather head out for the purpose of the exercise, and get your cadence elevated.

If exercising with friends or a partner motivates you, there are also plenty of activities you can do with someone else. Committing to exercise with a friend will help you have extra motivation as well! You could join a fitness class or a dance class, go indoor climbing or rock climbing, or even join a sports team near you. Joining a class or a team is a good way to make new friends, but also to have the extra motivation to not skip your session. There are so many activities you can try as well by going to a class: Zumba, yoga, tai chi, hula hoop, etc.

Man Kneeing Punching Bag While Wearing Hooded JacketIf you live near a body of water, there are plenty of things you could do in terms of water sports. Whether it is going for a swim (always swim with a partner for safety or use a personal flotation device like this), a stand-up paddle session, or maybe kayaking. These are great ways to exercise and to be in nature.

Finally, if you enjoy feeling tired and worn out after your workout session, or that sport is a good way for you to release energy, you can consider combat sports such as martial arts, boxing, or kickboxing. This is a great way to enjoy exercise while learning new skills and releasing stress and energy. Have a look at our article covering the benefits of boxing for exercise.


How to Exercise if you Hate the Gym

Black and White Picture of Empty GymFinding exercise that isn’t boring is only one part of the equation if you hate the gym. If this picture just makes you cringe, that is okay, the gym is not for everyone. Sometimes it isn’t even the right place for gym rats. 

Going to the gym is not for everybody. Whether it is a time constraint or lack of confidence about working out in front of other people, or you don’t enjoy the music or vibe, there are plenty of other ways you can work out without going to the gym.

First, it is quite easy to get a work out at home. Whether it is more convenient or you find it more entertaining, there are plenty of ways to get some exercise in at home. You do not need a lot of space or equipment to do so. We even wrote an article on the benefits of owning a home gym.

Bodyweight exercises are a great way to work out without much investment or equipment. Many people are humbled by the difficulty of performing correct bodyweight movements. There are plenty of exercises you can do depending on what your fitness goal is. We also have a great article on a tough workout challenge that can be done at home which balances bodyweight movements and kettlebells.

If hitting the gym is primarily a time constraint or you feel bored quickly, consider doing HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training) so you can get your workout done in 20 to 30 minutes and be super-efficient about exercising!

Finally, exercising at home (or outside – one of the other benefits of bodyweight training) is a great way to do multiple things at the same time. If your most common reason to not exercise is the lack of time, you can multi-task! Are the kids watching TV? That 20-minute window may be all you need to get in a quick full-body workout. 10 minutes until your next conference call? Get in some intentional stretching and a few push-ups and air squats. Get creative.

Focus on Your Goals and Measure Success

Typewriter with White Page That Says Goals
“A goal is not always meant to be reached; it often serves simply as something to aim at.” –Bruce Lee

Think SMART: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-bound. Of course, your goals will depend on your current fitness level and how much time and effort you are willing to dedicate to exercising and reaching that goal. Having a SMART fitness goal will definitely help with motivation.

Keep in mind as well that if your goal is too hard to achieve, unrealistic or vague, then it is more of a wish than a goal. This is why setting up a SMART goal is important.

Once you have defined your SMART goal, then you have something to focus on. This will also provide you something to measure every week or every couple of weeks.

As you make progress, try to find small ways to reward yourself. I don’t mean by eating a dozen donuts, but find clever and healthy ways to reward persistence and progress. 

It doesn’t have to be huge rewards, you could simply treat yourself to a bath, the new training shorts you have been eyeing, or a new piece of training equipment.

As you progress, you will also be able to vary your workout routine a bit, as you will get stronger or have more endurance. Adding new exercises or changing your routine is a great way to avoid boredom while working out.

Set goals. Achieve goals. Accomplish dynamic fitness.

Tips on How to Craft Exercise That Isn’t Boring

Another good way to craft exercise that isn’t boring is to use something to distract you from the pain or boredom. 

Music can be a powerful motivator and distractor (if that’s what you need). There are many great music options out there for your workout, many of which have pre-made workout playlists for nearly every genre.

Another common thing to do is to use TV while running on the treadmill or using an exercise bike. Multi-tasking at its best.Guy Doing Dumbbell Bench Press with Spotter While Straining To Complete Movement

You can also consider replacing music or TV with a podcast or an audiobook (here are our Top 10 Health and Fitness Audiobooks). There are literally thousands of podcasts out there about any topic you might be interested in. It might take a bit of research to find one that you enjoy. But once you have it this is a great way to keep your mind entertained. If you enjoy reading in general or audiobooks, then treat yourself to one. You will then start to look forward to your workout as you will be longing to hear the rest of the story!

If you have a friend or partner that you can exercise with, this is also a very good way to keep the motivation up. Whether you can have a chat while you run or walk or plan to do a workout together. Your exercise time can also be a social time.

Finally, a good way to find inspiration could be simply to look at what others are doing. Maybe read some articles (plenty to learn on EMH!) about different routines, or have a look at some of the popular Instagram accounts talking about health and fitness. It might simply give you an idea you didn’t have before, or that little extra bit of motivation you are lacking.

New Exercises to Try and Changing Your Routine

Working out at home or doing activities outside is not possible for everybody. If going to the gym is still your best option, there are a few things you can do to spice it up.  

You can first start changing your workout itself. Try using supersets – so combining sets of reps faster with no or very little break in between. First, this will make your overall time at the gym shorter. Second, it will make your work out more intense and help you progress.

Another thing you can do to change your gym routine is to hire a personal trainer for a few weeks. You are less likely to skip a workout if you have an appointment. Further, a coach can keep your exercise varied. A trainer can also help you stay motivated through progress.

A simple way to change your routine is to change the time of day when you work out. Maybe you are dreading your after-work workout, or not feeling up for getting up at 6 am to head to the gym. Mix it up. Remember, variety is the spice of life. This is very true for fitness.

Finally, if you are feeling demotivated at the idea of going to the gym or experiencing fatigue, it might just be time for a break. Our bodies are very smart. They send us signals through fatigue to signal to us that we need to rest. Recovery is very important to consistent, long-term progress. Don’t forget to give your body proper recovery.

Rest assured that eventually, most people experience some sort of boredom with their workout routine or a lack of motivation. Do not beat yourself up, it happens. It is simply a chance to try something new. You don’t have to look that hard for exercise that isn’t boring. You just have to look.

Check out some of our other articles to get some real workout motivation: