What Your Workout Routine Is Missing

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For some people, running on a treadmill for an hour sounds like a perfect way to break a sweat. For others the idea of basically trotting in place sounds like torture.

Being the unique individuals that we are, we each have different takes on what are the most enjoyable ways to exercise. Yet is it okay to keep doing what you love, or should you make yourself do other, less-fun things to keep your fitness regiment balanced?

In order to live a healthy, active lifestyle long-term, it’s imperative that your workout routine include activities that you like, says Cedric Bryant, Ph.D., chief science officer for the American Council on Exercise (ACE). Developing a positive association with exercise and truly embracing and relishing in the experience is what ultimately will help you develop the internal drive to get and stay active for the long haul.

The best routine will also push you outside your comfort zone to challenge you, says Florida-based personal trainer Beth Jordan. “Otherwise your results will slow and you’ll quickly become bored and quit.”

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However, in order to keep your body at its peak, you should incorporate cardio, strength, balance, and flexibility training.

See, if you’re a cardio queen, skipping out on strength training altogether could leave you more prone to injury and limit the overall development of lean body mass. Research has shown that adults who do not regularly engage in strength training lose an average of half a pound of muscle each year—a total of five pounds in a decade—which can have a negative effect on metabolism.

On the flip side, if you’re someone who loves to lift but dips out on doing any type of cardio, you may be cutting yourself short on the heart-strengthening, calorie-burning, and aerobic-capacity-increasing benefits of this type of physical activity.

To expand your workout horizons, Bryant suggests participating in activities that address deficiencies in your fitness regimen one to two days per week, even if they may not be things you’re entirely enthusiastic about initially. By balancing the areas you need to focus on with the types of activities that you naturally gravitate toward, you’ll have the perfect challenging yet enjoyable routine that pushes you to set new goals.

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