Health and Fitness: Variety can increase adherence
March 14, 2014
Despite the known benefits of exercise, less than 60% of adults participate in regular physical activity. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that in the United States, at least 365,000 "preventable" deaths per year. Second only to deaths caused by smoking are deaths stemming from poor diet and lack of physical activity. Most people know the health risks of not getting enough exercise, but many still choose not to.
Many resources are utilized to find the "best" exercise programs; however, more research is needed to find exercise programs that can increase participation and enjoyment. If you don't exercise at all, finding an exercise routine that you can stick to is much more important than finding the hardest or the program promising the fastest results.
To address this issue, a recent published study, "The effect of variety on physical activity: A cross-sectional study" had two groups and put them into two separate exercise rooms.
Group A: A high-variety weight training exercise equipment room (10 choices)
Group B: A low-variety weight training exercise equipment room (two choices)
Both groups were properly trained by a certified personal trainer beforehand. The participants were then put in either the 10-option exercise equipment room or the room with just two exercise options for 20 minutes. The same groups also had access to low-level activities, like puzzles, coloring, reading magazines and Sudoku.
The study found that Group A, the 10-option room, had significantly increased repetitions performed (126 vs. 88), the amount of time exercising (14 minutes vs. 12) and enjoyment of exercising (eight vs. seven, out of 10).
The researchers also pointed out another great benefit of adding variety to your exercise program, noting, "When the same activities are performed … there is the risk of injury from overuse and repetitive motion. Conversely, by performing a variety of new activities the body is challenged in new ways."
Varying exercise choices is not only safer for most people but more enjoyable as well. It might be a good idea not only to try different exercises but different classes or methods of working out to keep things fresh and keep you interested and health too.
As always, consult your doctor prior to starting any exercise program, and if you are unsure how to properly preform any exercise seek the advice of a trained fitness professional.
Kyler Crouse, BS, CSCS, FMS is a strength coach that trains at Sierra Athletic Club and a training center instructor at Barton Memorial Hospital. Kyler specializes in training adults over 50 and rehabilitation after injury. Visit http://www.KCstrength.com for more information.