These Are The Signs That You Need To Change Up Your Exercise Routine

If you have a regular exercise routine, you’ve likely experienced periods of burnout and plateauing fitness. While this is normal — and, dare I say, probably a good sign you’ve been consistent — it can be very demotivating and make you wonder where you went wrong.

Well, according to Jamie Ramage, a personal trainer at Nuffield Health: “When assessing your gym routine, you want to make sure you’re always seeing progression. If you’ve noticed a plateau in your progress whilst training, or you’re starting to feel demotivated - it may be time to change things up.”

He added that if you’re stalling on an exercise for three or four consecutive sessions, this could be a sign that it’s time to swap that exercise out for something else.

Signs that it’s time to change your exercise routine

Senior Health and Wellbeing Physiologist at Nuffield Health Inez Griffin said:
“A great way to think about changing your routine is through the FITT principle (frequency, intensity, time and type).

“To switch things up, you could reconsider the frequency of your sessions and add an extra one per week, or you could increase the intensity or time of your workouts. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a complete regime change – making small adjustments can be just as beneficial.”

So, how often should we change our exercise routine?

According to Ramage, there are two things to consider before changing your routine. He says you should ask yourself if you’re still motivated and engaged with your current routine and if you feel that your progress has stalled.

He said: “Changing up your program can help challenge your mind and body with new and engaging exercises that target muscles you’ve perhaps not worked in a while.”

What is the best way to change your fitness routine?

Griffin said: “It’s important to stay focused on what your goals are. This could mean increasing your weekly running, swimming, walking, or cycling distance by 10% every 2 to 8 weeks.”

He added that if you’re starting to feel comfortable completing a certain number of reps, you might want to start increasing either the number of reps that you do or the resistance you are using by a small amount.

In summary,Griffin said: “If in doubt, trial and error can be a good place to start. Always listen to your body and you’ll ultimately land on an adaptive routine that works best for you and your body.”

How can changing exercise routines help our mental health?

If you’re looking to get into a routine or change your current routine, you could be doing wonders for your mental health. Lisa Gunn, Mental Health Prevention Lead at Nuffield Health said: “Developing good habitual behaviours and routines is good for our mental health and productivity. A lot of the same rules apply when it comes to exercise.

“Knowing how and when we’re going to exercise can create healthy habit loops in our brain that help positive behaviours become more automatic and easier to engage with.”

Beating the boredom

Gunn pointed out that the feel-good hormones that we benefit from when we exercise are somewhat diminished if we start to get tired of our routine, which in turn overrides one of the main positive benefits of regular exercise.

Gunn said: “This is where changing routine comes in. Mixing things up, whether that means changing what we’re doing, when we’re doing it, or even who we’re doing it with, can be helpful for keeping our minds engaged and focused when we exercise.”

Alleviates stress

Stress can have a detrimental effect on our body as well as our mind. When we feel stressed, cortisol is released into the body, which can be damaging for our health over time. Exercise is a great way to help reduce cortisol levels and flood the body with feel good hormones.

Gunn added: “If adding muscle is your primary goal whilst working out, mixing up your routine (with a blend of cardio and resistance training) to help lower cortisol levels can help.”

However, you should take a break for your mental health if you need to

Gunn said: “We often focus on the body and our muscles when considering whether or not to take a break from exercise. It’s important to remember that the mind can become burned out on exercise in similar fashion.”

She added that physical burnout can cause fatigue and demotivation, causing our mental health to deteriorate. She said that with this in mind, it’s important that we diversify our exercise routine and ensure that we’re getting pleasure from several sources and activities away from exercise.

This means that if life gets in the way and we need to take a break from exercise, we can maintain our mental health while the body takes a break.