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When you become bored of your workout routine, you might be tempted to do anything to make it all stop. Seeing as exercise is hugely important to maintaining good health, it’s important that you find ways to get back to enjoying it — or at least making it tolerable.
Thankfully, it’s not that difficult to combat boredom, whether you’re working out at a gym, running on the treadmill at home, or heading outdoors. The secret lies in distraction —use our tips below to keep your mind focused elsewhere so you can get through your routine.
Make Exercise Less Boring Right Now
Wish you were one of those people who absolutely love exercise? We’re not sure that we can promise that, but we can help teach you how to mix things up so that exercise doesn’t feel so boring that it’s sucking the life out of you.
1. Set Clear Goals
Setting goals while exercising is a smart way to beat boredom. Goals give you something to work toward and establish a clear start and end time for your workout routine so you don’t feel as if it’s dragging on forever.
Before you can set realistic goals, you have to establish baselines. Investing in a pedometer or fitness watch is an easy way to tell how many steps you’re taking, how long you’re working out, and how many calories you’re burning. Use this info (and your newfound technology) to make sure you hit your goals every day.
2. Challenge Yourself
While meeting goals can be rewarding, you’ll soon notice that it doesn’t take as much effort to walk as far or lift as much. This is due to the fact that the more you work out, the more endurance you build.
To bring back that awesome feeling of accomplishment and beat your workout rut, you’ll need to challenge yourself — go above and beyond!
Don’t let the idea of challenging yourself worry you, though. Depending on your skill level, aiming for 1,000 more steps per day or to work out for just 15 minutes longer can be plenty.
Believe us, you won’t be bored when you’re too busy concentrating on hitting just five more reps during weight training or going a few extra minutes during your cardio workout routine.
3. And Then Reward Yourself
Need a little motivation to meet those new goals? Reward yourself with fun prizes when you hit a big milestone!
While it can be tempting to turn to food for a job well done, resist the temptation, especially if you’re trying to lose weight or maintain it.
Instead, choose prizes or activities that you enjoy but don’t get to partake in as much as you’d like. Some good examples include indulging in a luxurious bubble bath, picking up a new book, or spending an afternoon at the arcade, movies, or zoo.
For some people, workout boredom starts to set in because they’re concentrating too much on other things they need to get done. If you’re swamped with work, planning a party, or learning a new skill, your mind might start to wander when you’re lifting weights or hitting the punching bag.
If this sounds like you, try multitasking. You’ll get more done, and you’ll be too distracted for boredom to set in. Of course, multitasking may seem easier said than done with some types of workout routines, but it’s totally possible with others.
For example, it’s easy to review meeting notes and watch cooking videos when you’re on a treadmill and have your hands free. If you’re strength training, doing yoga, or jogging outdoors, you can learn a new language or listen in on an online course by snagging a pair of earbuds and a smartphone.
5. Work Out with Others
Sometimes, you might just need a friend to help keep you motivated and beat workout boredom. If you find yourself lonely when working out, look for a gym buddy or meet up with some friends for group workouts.
If physically meeting up with others isn’t feasible, turn to technology. You can use video chat to work out virtually alongside a friend or partner, or you can use gamifying apps that record your progress to challenge buddies to beat you.
Of course, if you’re got a furry, four-legged friend, don’t hesitate to make them your workout buddy — believe us, they’ll love you even more for it. Take them for a run, chase them around the park, or jump into the pool to swim laps.
6. Engage Your Other Senses
Doing the same thing day in and day out is a surefire way to bore your brain and make working out miserable. Sometimes, though, you can’t avoid certain workout routines because you might be concentrating on particular muscle groups or lack the equipment to do something else.
When you find yourself in this situation, you can engage your mind by engaging your other senses. Think about it: When you do several things at the same time, your brain has to work harder to keep track of what’s going on.
During your workouts, find ways to activate your senses of taste, smell, and hearing. Simple ideas including chewing gum, lighting candles, and playing music. As you train, you’ll find that your mind naturally wanders, and before you have time to get bored of the exercise or the sensory stimuli, your workout will be over.
7. Vary Your Exercise Routine
Sometimes, you may find that you actually want to stick to a particular workout routine, despite finding it boring. This could be because you’ve already spent the money on equipment or you like the results you’re getting.
In this case, you can cure workout blues and make exercise fun again by just varying the intensity at which you work out. One way to do this is to simply go harder, longer, or faster when strength training, using the elliptical, or running.
Another idea is to try high-intensity interval training (HIIT). With HIIT workouts, you alternate between high-intensity bursts of exercise and rest. The most common HIIT interval is 30 seconds of activity and 30 seconds of rest.
You can do almost any kind of exercise during HIIT intervals, so it’s a great way to change things up whether you like to lift weights or do cardio. And because you’re working out so hard, your mind won’t have time to think about being bored.
8. Try a Change of Scenery
Other times, all you need to break out of an exercise rut is to shake things up. You can keep doing the same workout routines if you’d like, but try doing them somewhere different.
This can be as simple as exercising on the patio instead of the living room or as dramatic as finding an entirely new gym to visit.
If you exercise outdoors, try taking a different route while jogging or visiting a new park for yoga or aerobics.
Don’t want to find a new gym or leave the comfort of your home but still want a less boring workout? You can change the scenery by checking out new equipment, trying different weight training exercises, or joining group classes (in person or online) to make new friends.
Regular exercise is vital to good health, but it can be difficult to stay motivated when your brain is begging you to do something more interesting. The tips above are all good ways to find the extra motivation you need to get through your workouts, and we’re confident they’ll help you.
Looking for new and different ways to exercise? Check out our guide to unique workouts for serious muscle gain for ideas on how to switch things up.