by Ron Kurtus (revised 26 February 2007)
Physical exercise and workouts are good for maintaining muscle tone, strength and endurance, as well as to keep your body operating effectively and efficiently.
Once you reach a level of conditioning, the workout may begin to feel flat. You can then either try to increase your level or move to a different type of workout.
Questions you may have about this are:
- What does exercise do for you?
- Why does the workout feel flat?
- What can I do to get enthusiastic again?
This lesson will try to answer those questions. There is a mini-quiz and list of resources toward the end of this lesson.
Exercise is about growth
Exercising improves muscle strength and endurance. This is a form of growth. The process of growth feels good. You get more energy and you feel great.
Once you reach the point where your muscles are sufficiently handling the workout, it seems that the energy drops and you start to feel like your "old self" again. In some cases, you may even feel worse that before you started exercising.
This happens with competitive athletes. They want to peak at the right time, otherwise they get stale and lose their edge.
In some cases, the body may simply need some rest. Or perhaps your body is simply telling you to step up to the next level.
Go up to next level
Once you reach a plateau of good conditioning for the type of exercise or workout you are doing, it is time to go to a new level or to get some variety. It could mean that your body is hungry for some new challenges.
Sticking with your current program will keep your body fat and blood pressure down. But powering up your workout can reap other important benefits-improved cardiovascular fitness, steady weight loss, and increased muscle tone.
Try infusing stints of speed or extra intensity into your workout. If you run or walk, sprint to the next tree or mile marker, or really push yourself up the next hill. If you swim, add a few extra laps.
Need some inspiration? Setting specific, obtainable goals like training for a 10K race or a tennis tournament can help you take your workout up a rung and might make exercising more fun.
Varying your workout can also help you break through a plateau. If your aerobics class has become routine, try kick boxing or a Latin dance class. Moving your body in new ways will work your muscles differently, paying off in increased fitness. Keeping your routine fresh is a key in staying fit.
Competitive sports are often good to keep the edge. You are always pushing to win, even if you are staying at one point in the competition.
After following an exercise regime for a while, your body reaches that level of conditioning such that continued workouts can become boring or even not productive. You can try a different form of exercise to work out different muscles, or you can push yourself to new levels by challenging yourself to do even more than before. Sometimes competitive exercises can continually push you to new levels or can keep you enthusiastic about your workouts.
Reward yourself after a tough workout
Resources and references
Fitness Online - Stories from major fitness publications on sports and exercise.
Questions and comments
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