Because no one likes to do anything boring. Plus, the key to achieving results is constantly challenging yourself.
To maintain workout momentum, warding off boredom is key for Frances Flores, group fitness manager at Century City in California. “Every four weeks I change my strength training program. I also change up my cardio: I walk, run, StairMaster, elliptical, and incorporate bodyweight HIIT training.” Yoga is her “first love” so she keeps it in the rotation at least once a week.
In a recent global survey by adidas, 55% of participants who increased their running dramatically found that they had developed a more positive outlook on life. “Running is like an emotional superfood,” says David Siik, creator of Precision Run. “In a world that is often complicated, a return to something so natural feeds our emotional center in a way few things still can. And, running requires a lot of work which produces the infamous runner’s high, a chemical and hormonal euphoria that often leads to a sense of peace and happiness.”
Siik says you don’t have to up your mileage by a ton to see mood-boosting perks. Even a 10% increase week over week, which is the max recommended to avoid injury, will have an impact.
Cycling sprints, endurance runs, and heavy lifts hurt physically because the strain of the activity activates nerves. That said, pain is more a psychological and emotional experience than it is a physical one, explains Eddie O’Connor, Ph.D., a clinical sports psychologist at Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Once those pain signals reach the brain, several mental factors help determine how severe that discomfort is, including whether it’s expected, worthwhile (like if you’re sprinting to a finish line), or a sign of injury.
Assuming you're in pain because you're pushing yourself rather than injured, the most effective way to minimize the aches is by giving them purpose, O’Connor says. Tell yourself the discomfort will pay off (by making you stronger, faster, more flexible, and so on), and your brain is less likely to exaggerate it.
Many times the easier thing is to distract from pain and often that is all we can do. Whether the pain is physical or emotional, chronic or acute, by bringing physical awareness and stimulating the body’s calming response you can experience relief.
“What helps me maintain momentum with my routine is writing down my fitness to-do list daily,” says Rene Wiley, a group fitness instructor at In the Wild Marina Del Rey. He suggests using an actual pen and paper rather than typing it out into your phone. “A written commitment is super simple but holds a lot of weight. I get so much satisfaction crossing off all the things on my list.”
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