They say variety is the spice of life, but it’s also pretty darn integral to exercise, both in terms of keeping your mind engaged in the activity at hand and ensuring that your dedication to exercise continues to pay off, be it in gains of physical strength, endurance, or simply just feeling good about your body.
On the mental front, variety in your exercise routine can be one of the most important predictors of adherence to exercise. To test this theory, researchers from the University of Florida assigned 114 people to one of three exercise programs; one where the type of exercise varied between workouts, a second where members were required to perform the same exercise at each workout, and a third where exercisers where left to their own devices in terms of schedule and exercise type. At the end of the eight week program, 53 participants had left the program, leaving 24 people in the first group, 22 in the second group and 15 in the third group. In addition, participants in the first group enjoyed their workout sessions 20 percent more than the members of the second group and 45 percent more than members of the third group.