Staving Off Monotony

by Angela Yorke | October 13th, 2011 | Cardio

Cardio is essential if you intend to lose weight and gain stamina. In addition to running, swimming, aerobics, and cycling, other forms of cardiovascular activity include dancing, rowing, and boxing. I’m certain I’ve left out others; just know that if your exercise activity increases your heart rate and ensures it stays that way for approximately 20 minutes (by keeping you in constant motion), then it’s a cardio workout.

That said, deciding on a routine is much easier than sticking to one long enough for results to show. Tedium is the main reason a person drops out from a particular activity. One way to stave off boredom is to add variety, such as by varying the type of machines you use, or by simply engaging in different types of cardio activity, such as swimming, running, and biking. This usually leads to aspirations of competing in a triathlon.

Other times, a change of environment can remedy monotony. This is very easy to do when the weather outside is beautiful, and it’s easy to be struck by the absurdity of engaging in a stationary workout indoors. In addition to alleviating tedium, the different surroundings can also help make a workout go by that much more quickly.

If your cardio already takes place outdoors, you might want to make it more interesting for yourself by adding a competitive element to it. Whether it’s a simple 5K run, a varsity biathlon event, or a mountain biking competition, nothing boosts motivation as well as the prospect of winning does. Not only is there a prize at stake, you have a solid goal to aim for, increasing the commitment you dedicate to training, which helps to improve fitness even further.

Whether you workout indoors or outside, the music you listen to (or don’t) can make a difference. Using a different playlist might be enough to keep things fresh, while a person who usually exercises to the sound of silence might find that aural accompaniment will provide company and motivation. You don’t even need to listen to music per se; best-selling writer Neil Gaiman works out listening to audio books, and he mixes it up by walking his now-famous white German shepherds.

Interval training is another way to keep cardio interesting. Basically, you alternate high-intensity bursts with a more relaxed pace. Proponents love it, because you see its effects quickly (increased metabolic rate, quicker fat loss, uses less time), and you don’t need special equipment to carry it out. It could be as simple as asking yourself to speed-walk to the next lamppost, or demanding and structured, like a pyramid workout.

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All health and fitness information is provided for educational purposes. Please consult with your physician before beginning any exercise regimen.