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Exercise to Entertain

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Most often people do not stick to exercise programs because they lack motivation due to stress, time management issues or simply a boring workout. The key to sticking with your resolutions comes from making your workouts fun.

How many times have you heard peope say: "Working out or going to the gym is boring?" This "boring" excuse is age old and is simply unfounded. There are many different techniques people can use to spice up their workouts.

Most often people do not stick to exercise programs because they lack motivation due to stress, time management issues or simply a boring workout. The key to sticking with your resolutions comes from making your workouts fun.

Too often, going to the gym or exercise class is thought of as a chore rather than a treat. To continue with a workout regime faithfully, you must reward yourself. For example, if you exercise three days a week for a month, you may reward yourself with a new pair of workout shorts, a new pair of runners or even a night out on the town. Often the smallest incentive will provide you with the motivation you need to make those workouts feel less like a job and more like leisure time.

Not only should you reward yourself for hard work done, but also work at making that hard work more enjoyable.

Try varying your weight training routine by working your upper body on day one and lower body on day two. You could also do one body part each day of the week (taking two days for rest). You might add a cardio interval between your exercise sets; add core strength training exercise on a Swiss Ball between each of your exercise sets; or you may want to do your entire workout using a Swiss Ball to actively recruit more muscle fibres.

Music has always been a great motivator. It makes even the smallest of children bounce and wiggle. Purchase a cassette walkman, a disc man or a mini disc player and get some tunes to motivate you through your paces. Several companies make waist belts designed to hold a walkman in the small of your back while exercising. There is even a walkman designed for use in the swimming pool!

Many companies make music specifically for exercising, with a strong bass beat that is up-tempo and motivating. The speed of the music is counted in the number of beats per minute, similar to taking your heart rate. A warm-up activity would be set to music of 130-135 beats per minute, with the cardio increasing to 140-155 beats per minute. Aerobics instructors pay particular attention to the speed of the music they use, as they want to make you work at a safe, but effective speed.

Last, but not least, you should regularly change your workout environment. Too often people do the same workout, with the same equipment, at the same fitness facility for months even years. This is not an effective way to train for either cardiovascular benefits or strength and endurance. Also, this lack of variety becomes extremely tiresome in a short period of time.

It is important to cross train no matter what your fitness goals are. If you regularly train with weights, try to add some cardiovascular exercise in the form of a walk in your neighborhood, a jog on a treadmill, rollerblading or a bike ride to the grocery store. If you have yet to venture into a weight room, give it a try. Most facilities have someone on staff to help you with the machines and provide you with a workout.

For even more variety, try the latest to hit the aerobics studio ballet boot-camp. The instructor uses ballet movements as a basis and adds an explosive strength or endurance component to increase the difficulty of the movement. It is a basic workout, focusing on leg and arm endurance.

You can also choose from hip-hop dance, latin step, aero-box, cardio kick-boxing or, for the less coordinated, a spinning class. Try your neighborhood recreation centre go for a swim or go ice skating. The more variety you add to your workout routine, the more fun it will be and the better the results.

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