Many of us dutifully trek to the gym only to go through the same motions every time. We rarely push ourselves beyond our comfort zones and are content with the workouts we’re used to. This is fine if you’re not really trying to improve but if you want to achieve those fitness goals you set out for yourself, you need to adjust your gym workout routine.
Don’t get me wrong, any exercise is definitely healthier than none. However, if you want lasting benefits from your workout, you need to push yourself hard on a continual basis. Instead of being comfortable with your tried and trusted routine, you need to embrace the discomfort and stress of a high-intensity workout.
Pushing Your Limits
I know what you’re thinking- how will strenuous activity benefit me? I’m trying to get fit, not add more stress to my life.
Well, turns out not all stress is bad for you. The premise behind making your workouts more stressful is that if you don’t push your body by providing enough stimulus to shock it, it’s not going to feel the need to grow stronger. Our muscles and cardiovascular systems are strengthened when we put them under a certain amount of stress. Therefore, inducing stress by participating in a high-intensity workout will have you reaping more benefits than sticking to moderate aerobic activity.
This is good news especially for those with busy schedules. You don’t have to spend hours slogging away on a treadmill or cross trainer when you can get more out of a short, high-intensity workout or what is known as high-intensity interval training (HIIT). Studies suggest that when done right, these short, sharp bursts of strenuous activity are just what your body needs.
Challenging Yourself Strengthens Your Body
It seems contradictory, doesn’t it? How can putting your body through a stressful workout be good for you?
Let’s start with your muscles. When you push them to perform at their highest levels, your muscles develop small tears. While this sounds frightening, it’s actually a good thing as your body will not only repair them but also strengthen them. The end result is stronger muscles that can endure more stress. This is the science behind getting ripped.
Remember that your heart is a muscle too and the harder you make it work (during a workout), the stronger it becomes. The stress of regular exercise also improves blood circulation and arterial health and even reduces the risk of high blood pressure and cardiovascular diseases.
Furthermore, strenuous exercise provides the perfect outlet to let off steam after a stressful day. Exerting yourself at the gym allows you to release pent-up frustration, anger or anxiety which in turn elevates your mood while lowering mental and emotional stress.
Putting your body under temporary stress while working out might seem torturous but your heart, lungs, muscles and mind will thank you in the end. Just make sure you give yourself ample time to rest and recover between sessions.
Kevin Jones is a full time professional fitness expert. When he isn’t in the gym, he is offering practical research, fitness plans and nutritional tips to the world. Kevin regularly contributes to many fitness and health authority websites. With a passion for family, fun, and fitness, Kevin has found a way to manage and combine these three aspects in an effective and successful way. Connect with him online; LinkedIn - Twitter
This post comes from the TODAY Parenting Team community, where all members are welcome to post and discuss parenting solutions. Learn more and join us! Because we're all in this together.