You all understand that exercise is good for you. It keeps your cardiovascular systems healthy, keeps you strong, and helps keep your weight in check (alongside a proper diet.) But, that doesn’t mean you have to like it.
It’s easy to come up with excuses when you truly dislike exercising and would rather spend your time doing just about anything else. I don’t have any secrets for never having to exercise again, but I do have some insights into what can make the process more bearable, and best of all: take less time.
There is a proven way to at least double your results from exercise while reducing the time it takes to complete your workout. Do I have your attention now? Great!
All you have to do is this: change your pace and intensity throughout your workout.
It’s really as simple as that. Researchers have found that when you change the pace or intensity of one exercise to the next you can dramatically boost your metabolism, not only during your workout, but also for hours afterwards. This means you can get more out of each workout in less time.
Next time you’re in the gym, don’t remain at one pace throughout your entire session. Hop on the treadmill, exercise bike, or stair climber, and start by moving at a moderate pace for a minute, then work up to a jog for a minute, then sprint for a minute, and repeat.
(Note: If you can’t sprint because of physical limitations such as injury or illness, that’s fine. You can still change your intensity level from low to medium to high in a way that challenges you without putting your body or health at risk.)
As you continue your workout, keep changing your pace between slow, medium, and fast until your time is up. Researchers have found that you can burn more calories in 20 to 30 minutes of varied-intensity aerobics then an hour of medium paced, consistent movement. Variety is not only the spice of life, it’s the key to your workout goals.
Another benefit of this method of exercise is that most people find the constant variation more engaging. Fighting boredom in your workout is important. If you can design your workout so that you can actually enjoy it, that’s always going to go a long way in keeping you motivated.
If you’re a beginner: start out slow. As you work your way up, the high-intensity part of your workout will get faster and you’ll be able to push yourself more and more. Pay attention to your body, and if you ever feel faint or nauseous, take a break immediately. In time, not only will you be healthier, stronger, and weigh less, but exercise will also give you “feel-good” hormones that will boost your mood and lower your overall levels of stress and depression.
Next time you workout, remember: each exercise session a victory in your quest to improve your body and your life. Give yourself the credit you deserve for showing up and putting in the work, expecially when you’re tired, grumpy, or unmotivated because even your worst workout is better than not showing up at all.