The Importance of Switching Up Your Workout Routine

Tired of doing the same boring workout at the gym?

Switching up your workout and doing as many different types of activities is an effective way to increase overall fitness. Let’s take a look at a generic workout for example using the elliptical for 30 minutes 3 times a week. This routine is better than certainly none and if you are elderly, have joint pain or an injury/disease disabling you from higher intensity exercise, sustaining a low impact activity such as the elliptical is the right choice. Otherwise after about a month the body recognizes this routine as a baseline and the heart is not being challenged through interval training.
A healthy heart rate (HR) is anywhere between 60-80bpm at rest. During exercise the HR needs to increase and decrease multiple times. First off, ask yourself am I pushing myself hard enough (most likely you’ll know the answer to this question) and secondly are you bringing your HR up and then back down continuously through the workout?

Practical Application

Here’s an easy calculation to figure out if you’re pushing yourself enough and reaching a HR that will give you the best results for your time spent exercising. To find an approximate estimate of your maximum HR take 220 minus your age. For example: 220- 40 years old= 180bpm. That number is an average of the maximum number of times your heart can beat per minute.

From here we can look at the different levels of intensity. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that a moderate level intensity ranges from 50-70% of max HR whereas 70-85% is considered high intensity. Let’s try a calculation for moderate level intensity at 65% of max HR. To work at 65% of your maximum capacity take your max HR and times it by .65%. Ex: 180bpm X .65%= 117bpm. Now lets do the same but at 85% intensity. 180bpm X .85%= 127.5bpm. To be working at 65%-85% of you max HR, a person of 40 years must keep the HR in between 117-127.5bpm. Maintaining a moderate to high intensity pace regardless of what type of exercise will give you the best results and now you know why! Next time you’re at the gym take note of your HR whether it be manually using your carotid/radial artery (count for 15 seconds, times by 4 to give you your beats per minute) or with a HR monitor. Workout smart so you don’t waste precious time at the gym!