Just because we know that working out is good for us doesn’t mean we don’t struggle to stay motivated or lose interest. And it turns out, getting bored with exercise is normal. According to a recent study from the National Institutes of Health, boredom with sports activities is common even in amateur, college and pro athletes. So how do we avoid that? Dr. Dan O’Neill, a sports psychologist and orthopedic surgeon, says the key is keeping it new and that means varying your workouts.
These are some creative ways to shake up your fitness routine so you’re motivated to workout:
- Create a word or image with your exercise route- You can map a path through the streets that spells out a word or creates an image and then use a GPS device to “draw” it as you run, bike or walk. You’ll need to download a fitness app, then sketch out your message or image using a mapping tool like Map My Run, so you know where to go. And don’t forget your GPS tracker when you head out.
- Join a free fitness group- Depending on where you live, you can find groups that meet in parks for workouts like Pilates, yoga, Zumba, kickboxing and of course, running.
- Dance- The fact that it doesn’t feel like exercise makes it fun and you can do it anywhere to any kind of music. You can find tons of free dance workouts online or just turn up the music and bust some moves in the living room.
- Sign up for a new-to-you event- Running a 5K is an option, but so is orienteering, a timed navigational sport that requires you to find orange and white flags hidden in parks or remote areas. Races like Tough Mudder encourage teamwork and involve running routes with obstacles along the way. And for the more daring types, adventure racing combines orienteering with several sports, like trekking, cycling and paddling, plus they sometimes include a surprise obstacle, like a ropes course or climbing wall.
- Take parkour lessons- This noncompetitive sport was created in France in the 1980s to help people conquer obstacles in urban and natural settings by jumping, vaulting, balancing and other movements. It may involve walking on a retaining wall, hopping from rock to rock to cross a stream, then vaulting over a bench.
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