Routine or Variety... Which is Better for Workouts?

Routine or Variety... Which is Better for Workouts?

The term “workout routine” implies that the exercise should be a repetitive pattern. Researchers, however, have compared the effectiveness of adding variety to exercise. Whether it’s a flexible gym membership that allows you variety or just switching up your workout, find out if the perception of variety is enough to improve your results.

What Exercise Research Says

University of Florida study divided participants into three groups. Group One was given specific workout instructions that included variety. Group Two was allowed to pick a workout routine that participates had to continue for the remainder of the study. Participants in Group Three were expected to work out three times per week like the other groups but were given no specific instructions about varying their exercise routines.

The study found that individuals completing the study in Group One were 15 percent more likely to exercise on a regular basis than Group Two and 63 percent more likely than Group Three. Those in Group One reported 20 percent more enjoyment of their workouts than participants in Group Two and 45 percent more than Group Three. In addition to have better success sticking with their exercise routine on a weekly basis, Group One participants were much more likely to continue their exercise routines throughout the duration of the study.

A study published in the Journal of Sports and Exercise Psychology found that people who perceived themselves as having more variety in their exercise routine were more likely to continue their exercise program.

Previous behaviour studies have found that people will consume more of something if there is more variety. For example, when presented with dish containing candies that are all the same colour, people will eat less than if the candies are multiple different colours, even if the candies are all the same flavour. Researchers investigated to see if this same behavioural pattern would apply when people were presented with more exercise options. In this study that included people in various age groups the researchers found that access to a greater variety of exercise equipment increased the length of time individuals exercised and performed more repetitions but did not report feeling that they had expended appreciably more effort than when they exercised less. Participates with access to more variety in exercise options also reported enjoying their workouts more than those with limited workout variety.

Obviously individuals vary, if you are currently seeing great results and enjoyment from your current workout, then there may be no reason to change your routine. For many people, however, these studies demonstrate how a change in venue or workout can make a difference. It can increase the time you spend working out, the number of repetitions, and how good you feel about your workout.

If it seems like time to shake up your workout, check out the other options available. We are lucky to live in a time with more exercise options than ever before. From free weights and machines to classes, pools, and training regiments, there is something available for every interest. Why not find a gym near you today that offers something new and add some new life to your exercise plan? 


The Author

Joe Sherman

Joe is a keen gym-goer, footballer and cyclist. He has a passion for the latest fitness trends and marketing.

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