The Power of a Boring Exercise Routine

By , SparkPeople Blogger
Do any of these scenarios sound familiar?
  • You eat the same breakfast every day because it gives you one less thing to think about on busy mornings when you're trying to get out the door.
  • You drive the same way to work each day because you know the route and the traffic routine is fairly consistent.
  • You exercise every day on your lunch hour because you know that time of day works best for you.
  • You eat snacks and meals at the same time each day because you know that's when you'll be hungry.
There's nothing wrong with being a creature of habit, especially when those habits are good for you and your overall wellbeing. Habits help you get through the day productively so that you aren't constantly having to make complicated decisions.

With so many fitness trainers and experts insisting on the importance of "mixing things up for maximum results," though, you might feel pressure to constantly change your exercise routine. While it's true that you don't want to do the same exercise routine exactly the same way every single day for months and months, does that mean everything about your routine has to change? If you walk regularly, do you need to stop walking and do something completely different?

Yes, our bodies quickly adapt to the same daily activities. But surprisingly, there can be power in a routine that, in general, doesn't change. Especially when you're first starting out, a regular routine can help keep you accountable and get your body used to this new normal of being active. Once you've become a seasoned exerciser, a regular routine can offer a simple way to track progress and allow you to continue the activities you have learned to enjoy.  

SparkPeople Members Share the Appeal of a "Boring" Exercise Routine


Paula (PAULALALALA) knows how she wants to structure her weekly workouts and the less she has to think about it, the better. "I find it easier to keep up with the routine when I know what to expect from my workouts. The workouts I've chosen are the ones that I can see and feel results from. The classes I've chosen are with instructors who don't use the same exercises every time, but are predictable in the way they set their workouts up," she explains. "There's nothing quite as discouraging as going into a class where the instructor feels they have to throw everything in the book at you, and then spend half the time explaining the new moves. I go away from those workouts feeling as if I haven't really spent my time wisely." 

For others, keeping to a consistent routine makes the numbers game easier when it comes to tracking. Ryan (RYAN133HW) finds it easier to stick to a plan and track her progress when she does the same kinds of workouts. "Each morning when I get up, I know today is Tuesday so I'm going to spin, or today is Friday so I have yoga," she explains. The schedule also offers Ryan the opportunity to challenge herself and gauge her progress in real time. "Each week I am aware of how much I improved from the week before When I first started to spin, [for example] I couldn't make it through the full hour without at least two or three breaks," she recalls, "I remember how proud I was the first time I was able to continue peddling throughout the entire class. The first time I came out of the saddle, I can't even tell you how that made me feel."

That feeling of improvement, of getting stronger and of seeing change is a powerful, almost addicting sensation. Watching as your yoga poses improve, your runs get easier and your dumbbells get heavier will likely make you want to keep reaching for that next level. As you start to see what your body is capable of doing, that---rather than feeling obligated—becomes the driving force. That desire to reach a new personal best is a source of motivation and accomplishment that you might not otherwise see if you bounce from class to class or routine to routine.  

In his 30 years as a bodybuilder, Bill (BILLMC6) similarly believes that if you find some form of exercise that you are willing to do on a regular basis, you will see benefits. "Consistency is better than jumping around from routine to routine, since constant change prevents you from really getting good enough at anything to see positive results," he says. "I will admit that I am not a big person, but by doing what I love for the past three decades, with basically the same routine, I have gained muscle, gotten stronger and have a lot more confidence in myself than I had when I was younger."

ANARIE prefers the term "well-rehearsed" over "boring" to describe an exercise program that basically stays the same. "I like variety, but there's a lot to be said for routine. If you do the same thing over and over and over, you reach a point where you don't have to think about it and your mind is free to wander," she says. "It becomes almost like meditation, or like playing a well-practiced musical piece. I suspect that a lot of people who are successful at sustaining an exercise routine over the long term are able to do it because they enjoy exercise as their thinking time."

If you've struggled with consistency in the past and found it difficult to stick with a regular exercise routine, perhaps it's because you haven't found exercises you enjoy. When you like what you're doing, you're more likely to stick with it, that's a fact. If your daily walk is something that challenges your body, gets your heart rate up and you look forward to doing, then stick with it!  There are many ways to vary your walk by adding hills, speed intervals, changing the distance and more to keep your body guessing. Many times your body will give you the signs that it's time to change your workout routine
 
Everyone is different, so while some people need variety to keep them interested, others need routine to keep them happy. I've been a runner for years, and if someone told me I had to stop and do something different, I'd be unhappy. I have days when I work hard to try something new with my run, but other days, I go on autopilot and use that time to clear my head and think about other things. As with most things in life, it's all about balance.

What about you? Are you a creature of habit when it comes to your workouts, or do you believe that variety is the spice of life?

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Comments

PLATINUM755 4/15/2018
Definitely something to keep in mind...Thanx! Report
ALEXTHEHUN 3/12/2018
Routines are efficient. I'm not trying to be entertained. Report
MALD1983 3/1/2018
I am definitely a creature of habit and the constant chant to change up a workout routine has always scared me because of how uncoordinated I am. It takes me weeks to learn a routine or get the exercises right. And then to have to switch to something new rather than building on what I already know frustrates me into giving up early ir wondering why I have to change when I just get good at something. Hearing that it's okay to stay in my comfort zone and build on it is fantastic news! Report
PATRICIAANN46 1/2/2018
Great article................Thank You. Report
GRACED777 12/16/2017
Im a creature of habit who likes to only change things up a little to keep myself challenged. Report
JIACOLO 12/11/2017
I can get bored easily with the same routine. Report
ARTJAC 12/2/2017
THANKS Report
SHOAPIE 11/29/2017
This is me. Report
AQUAGIRL08 11/29/2017
I am definitely a creature of habit! Report
REDROBIN47 11/29/2017
Finally an article that gives me permission to do things the way I have been. I definitely am a creature of habit. At my age, I don't think it's going to change. And it's working for me. Report
MINNIE 11/28/2017
i need variety to keep me interested, but structure is good. Report
MEAGOP 11/28/2017
Love it! I am like this. If I have to invest the time and energy to change things up all the time I lose momentum. Thank you, finally, for saying it is okay to be consistent but boring! I love my boring meal plan, and I love my boring exercise routine. They both work well for me! Report
CACUJIN 11/28/2017
I didn't like this article. Report
THOMASINA57 11/28/2017
being a creature of habit and routine definitely has worked to help me stay at maintenance weight the past 5 years. Report
ICEHOUSEGUITAR 11/28/2017
Love this! I have a variety of exercises to choose from every day, from yoga to power walking to working with weights. I'm never bored and can adapt my choice easily to how things are that day. Great article! Report
AUNA_VISTA 11/28/2017
Great article about building healthy habits! I think developing a routine is better than changing things all the time, because when your muscles are "guessing," they're more likely to be injured. It's not a good thing. You need to build proficiency, by practicing a lot, like musicians do. Also, love the member quotes! Report
CATE195 11/28/2017
I am so glad to finally read an article that encourages me to be in a routine. Report
SWEDE_SU 11/28/2017
definitely a creature of habit, though i "shake things up" with a series of videos (jessica smith at the moment, leslie sansone in the past) Report
RAWCOOKIE 11/28/2017
Habit works best for me and gets me past the "I don't feel like it today" more often than not. Trying new things is a fun extra, and if I enjoy it, it might become a new habit! Report
JIACOLO 11/19/2017
I know when I get bored with my routine I need to change it up. Report
GEORGE815 11/19/2017
Exercise can be boring but the results are much waiting for. Report
ENGINEERMOM 11/17/2017
This is why I prefer triathlon training! Swim, bike, run (or walk), plus yoga for stretching and a day or two of weight lifting to support the main sports, and that’s a whole week’s worth of exercise without a single repeated day. Report
HAPPYDOES 11/10/2017
I tend to do the same thing over and over until I get bored, then I try to find ways to spice up the routine or find something new.
Thanks for the encouragement. It's good to know that at least I'm doing something good even if it is boring at times. Report
RHOOK20047 11/9/2017
Good advice Report
SOXYINMO 11/5/2017
I think Paulalalala is right! It's one of the things I love about Les Mills. The classes are set up the same but the moves are different every few weeks. I can keep to my Monday and Wednesday nights at the gym and know that what I'll get will be specific courses, but with changing moves that help challenge my body. Report
KATHYJO56 11/5/2017
This rings true for me. I am definitely a creature of habit Report
MUSICNUT 11/5/2017
Thanks for an informative article! :) Report
SUNSET09 11/3/2017
Variety keeps me committed and focused. I also enjoy challenging myself and trying new things. Report
TWINZ_LOCZ 11/3/2017
Good tips Report
BIKE4HEALTH 11/3/2017
thx Report
BIKE4HEALTH 11/2/2017
Change is a good thing Report
NANASUEH 11/2/2017
good points Report
MUSTANGMOM6 11/2/2017
Great advice, my routine is boring, I think any constant exercise can help Report
STUBBY_DOUGLAS 11/2/2017
Excellent buy-in contained in your blog!

I prefer to KISS (keep it simple stupid). I do, however, enjoy the same movements when I can do my exercises slowly and visualize the muscle and blood movement. I get far better workouts when my attention is totally absorbed by the movements.

That said, I'm doing something right because I can feel my body being tolerably sore. Grow man, grow! Muscle that is... Report
REEDSKI 11/2/2017
Guilty. I am a creature of habit. But weather causes me to change things up. Report
TOMATOCAFEGAL 11/1/2017
GOOD HABITS ARE GREAT!!!!! MOTIVATION Report
KATONTHEMAT 11/1/2017
I like to get familiar with something for a while and then switch it up Report
LOSER05 11/1/2017
thanks. Report
BIKE4HEALTH 11/1/2017
Its easy to be a creature of habit. This helps in taking a more beneficial approach Report
LOUIE-LILY 11/1/2017
I am definitely a creature of habit! But I have switched it up lately in a major way...going vegetarian...it's a real challenge! Report
ZRIE014 11/1/2017
very helpful Report
MNABOY 10/31/2017
Good information. Report
LESSOFMOORE 10/31/2017
I like the visual! As for the words. I'm taking them as words of encouragement! Report
BLONDWUNN 10/31/2017
I'm a creature of habit, but I do try to change up periodically. Report
BARCELONAME 10/31/2017
thanks Report
PWILLOW1 10/31/2017
I too am a creature of habit. If it works for you why change it. I do change my workout every few weeks as my body gets used to what I am doing but only by adding a few more reps or a bit heavier weights. Report
JMBGMX 10/31/2017
Good article. Thank you Report
SUGARADDICT5 10/31/2017
I had a young nutritionist ( not married and no children) tell me that the lunch I had everyday on weekdays was a "lame lunch". I was eating one fruit, two vegetables, hummus, a flaxseed pita and chicken breast. I ate the same lunch everyday because it became something I could easily eat while on the run and work and I could prepare it ahead of time and still have time to make sure my children's daily lives ran smoothly. I also go to the gym for 30 minutes everyday during my lunch break. It is better then gossiping and more rejuvenating. So, yep, I'm a creature of habit and proud of it. Report
KHALIA2 10/31/2017
I love walking. But I walked yesterday because I couldn't make it to the gym. The girl I ride with on exercise days was in the hospital. Do I decided to walk to get my exercise in. I walked for a total of six miles. ( Never did that one before). Report
ILOVEROSES 10/31/2017
Good article. Report
 
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