An odd thing happened to me as I set out on my morning walk at the crack of dawn. I realized I was bored.
This was interesting, because I love walking. I especially love walking early in the morning, when few cars are out and about. As I continued striding along, I considered my options. Did I have enough energy to throw some running into the mix? A mile into my walk, I reached the fork in the road where I could proceed on a 2.5-mile loop around a park, or bypass the park and continue my usual route.
I chose the park. And I ran. Like the wind, Bullseye.
Well, not all 2.5 miles. I ran for a bit, walked for a bit. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. But I was able to run further than I had when I last did this, in the weeks before organic chemistry all but robbed me of my mojo. But I ran fast, like something was chasing me. Hmmmm…walking slowly makes my body and brain want to scream in frustration, and apparently so does slow running (aka jogging). Clearly, I have a need for speed. Good thing I rarely drive a car.
Ah, yes. It was just what I needed. A little variety, a little shakeup of the routine. Just as I had overdone my favorite meal of a big green salad with chicken breast, so too had I overdone my favorite form of exercise.
In both cases, I listened to what my body, and my brain, was telling me, made adjustments that were still healthy, merely different, and all was right again with the world. Tonight, I am again looking forward to a big salad with chicken, but I think I’ll mix up tomorrow morning’s cardio again by riding my stationary bike on a hard interval setting. Then I’ll go for my usual 4-mile walk the next morning.
For healthy eating and regular physical activity to become part of your lifestyle, nay, part of you, you can’t allow boredom to set in. If you do, you’ll eventually rebel and eat half a pizza with a French fry chaser. Or just become numb, which isn’t any better.
I would like to be able to say that there are a greater range of healthy food options available than there are unhealthy food options, but a trip to any grocery store seems to prove otherwise. Still, if you get bored with your healthy eats, there’s no need to plunge your hand into a bag of chips in order to give your tastebuds the stimulation they seek.
If you find yourself wanting to scream if you do one more session of your usual exercise, then do something different. Use a different cardio machine at the gym. Change your walking or running route. Ride a bike. Buy a jumprope. Take a yoga class. Play Frisbee. Bellydance. Salsa dance. Go hiking. Do Pilates. Rent a kayak.
If you do strength training (and if you aren’t, why NOT?), there are infinite variations on that theme. Single body part, upper-lower body splits, push-pull splits, full body, circuits, supersets, bodyweight, light weight, heavy weights. It’s all good! And it’s great to mix things up…keeps your muscles and your brain guessing.
What exercise boredom should NOT do is send you to the sofa. If you don’t like how things are, then change them, but change them to something healthy. You only have one life, one body, one mind. Make them the best they can be.