When athletes hang out, conversation will almost certainly drift to training and favorite exercises or equipment. We all have that one activity we slip into our rotations when the schedule looks a little bleh. Everyone probably also has that one routine that, despite how great for you it may be, is always the thing that gets dropped in a time crunch (or just because it’s miserable). Well, it turns out these preferences are important to what we get out of our exercise overall. In fact, the may even determine how long we keep on track with our fitness goals.
First, this will apply a less to professional athletes that to those of us with a nine-to-five but take our athletic endeavors seriously. Much like you keep going to work even when you don’t like x, y, or z about it, pro athletes are bound to have routines or exercise that just aren’t that much fun. But, that’s the job sometimes.
Now, for the rest of us. A small but still interesting study suggests that our obsession with short, high-intensity workouts may not be what all of us need or, more importantly here, even want. The challenge for many people is fitting in time to complete the physical training they need. That gave rise to high-intensity interval training. If you can really push your body to the limits on several activities for a few minutes at a time, you could sleep 45 more minutes, work a bit longer, or not miss dinner with the family every other night.
It turns out that saving all that time isn’t really making some of us happy with our workout experience. And to some folks, enjoying the routine is the difference between sticking with it or taking up a spot on the bingo caller rotation.
In this particular study, researches wanted to determine if doing the same sort of exercise in different ways made a difference. People were first asked to take a brisk three hour walk on a winding, climbing trail through the Alps. The next day, the same folks performed a brisk walk on a treadmill at a similar pace and with similar changes in elevation. On the third and final day, the group lounged and talked in well equipped leisure room.
While the outdoor hike was objectively the most strenuous, it is the exercise people overwhelmingly suggested was less strenuous. They also reported feeling more relaxed and happier on both exercise days than on the day of having plenty of activities but no exercise.
The quick lessons are clear—first, people generally enjoy doing something active than something sedentary. Second, the more engaged the person is, the better. There are some other possible lessons about how being in nature can alter our moods or have other tangential benefits for mood and overall health.
However, we can also easily extrapolate these findings to inform how we manage our fitness habits overall. While we do have schedules and competing interests to manage, we also need to make sure our routine is rewarding and engaging enough to keep us coming back. For virtually every exercise you may do, there are likely several others that will give you the desired result in a different way. Unhappy with routine A? Don’t abandon ship; just switch to routine B! Does the gym seem stuffy some days? Find some training routines that can be done completely without the gym and stay outdoors to train on a few days of the week.
The moral of the story—make your workout something that makes you happy and something you want to return to and you’ll build a foundation for continued success.
Stagnation and mundane routines aren’t the only things that can derail an otherwise great plan. Millions of athletes struggle with muscle cramps. Yeah, we can work through them, slack off when we feel them start, and all the other annoyances and half-fixes we’ve become accustomed to. Or we can turn to the only scientifically proven product to both treat and (wait for it) prevent muscle cramps. That’s right—take HOTSHOT as recommended before you get your train/race on, and you’ll keep those cramps in check. If you are one of those athletes slowed by cramps, click here to pick up your order of HOTSHOT today. While your at it, hop over to Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to stay in touch and get all our latest on training, keeping healthy, and stopping cramps before they start.
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