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7 Ways to Beat Exercise Boredom

Keep your workout routine fresh by adding variety

When Gabby Clark bought a stationary bike and some hand weights, she started exercising with gusto. But after two months, the hand weights were lost behind the couch, and the bicycle had turned into a clothes drying rack. Gabby had become so bored with her routine that she stopped exercising completely.

Everyone gets bored sometimes, and winter weather can make it especially hard to keep moving. But one of the best ways to keep your routine fresh—and keep getting more fit—is to add variety.

To get the most variety and benefit, you should balance aerobic, stretching, and strength-training activities in your routine. The good news is, it’s easy to mix up your exercise routine with a little planning:

  1. Are you walking every day? Do an exercise video or take a class every other day. On the weekends, go swimming, lift weights, or play basketball instead.
  2. When you walk or jog, try stopping every 10 minutes to do 10 to 20 squats, standing push-ups against a tree, kick-boxing moves, or gentle stretches.
  3. Try something you never thought you would do, whether it’s jazz dancing, yoga, baseball, line dancing, racquetball, roller skating, chair dancing, water exercise, or tai chi.
  4. Do you lift weights? Listen to music that you really enjoy and dance in between sets. Then change the music and do some stretches. Put on new music—and get out your magazines—when you hop on the stationary exercise machines.
  5. Alternate walking and biking in different beautiful parks or neighborhoods. Find a coworker or neighbor to keep you company.
  6. If you walk, bike, swim, or jog, set speed and distance goals. Start timing yourself and try to get faster. Then start increasing your distance. Track your progress in an .
  7. When you train for a charity walk, bike race, or triathlon, the organizers provide training schedules that recommend cross-training exercises to help you prepare. You’ll have a worthy cause, a new exercise plan, and lots of new training partners to help you achieve your goal.

Keep adding new twists and bigger challenges to your workouts. More variety means more fun, which means a better chance that you’ll stick with your routine.