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BW Businessworld

Banish Your Workout Blues

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You could filla book with the number of reasons people have for avoiding exercise. Too busy, too tired, too hard, too lazy... But the chief reason for being a workout dropout is probably good old boredom. If you've caught yourself nodding off to sleep during a yoga session, or almost slipped off the treadmill because your attention was everywhere except on the task at hand, you have a good idea of what workout boredom is like. “My increasing waistline is reason enough for me to hit the gym. But I’m so bored of the workout that I really have to push myself to visit the gym regularly,” says Vikas Khanna, a Delhi-based ad executive.

Instead of robotically going through the motions or giving up altogether, spice up to keep up. "I don't go to the gym because I don't like being stuck with one routine," says Anamika Singh, a Mumbai-based architect. "The moment I find I'm doing a workout beautifully and feeling good about it, I know it's time to change the routine. So I "park" it and start learning another one. YouTube is a great treasure trove of full-fledged workouts of all kinds and I especially love picking up from walking, aerobics, Zumba, strength training and cardio workouts. Watch once — then go, go, go."

For those who just can't manage to workout at home, there's plenty that can be done at the gym to introduce variety and challenge. Says Nawaz Modi Singhania, fitness and wellness expert and owner of Body Art Fitness centres in Mumbai, 'To keep boredom at bay, one can do a million different types of routines which involve detailed choreography set to fun, happening music. Many dance and martial arts moves are involved so one is learning something new and is very mentally occupied.” Examples include trampoline workouts, Slide Training, Zumba, aqua aerobics, Boxercise, etc.

Of course, some lucky people happen to come with built-in motivation which is strong enough to counteract boredom. The rest of us can work up some of that. Dress the part, experts say. Do whatever you need to to create the right ambience and get in the workout frame of mind. "I have a space at home set aside for exercise," says Ambica Trivedi, who teaches at a prestigious Delhi school. "That includes a huge mirror, hone exercise equipment, and just the music that gets me going. Even though there's no one to see me, I dress for the occasion every day, from shoes and shorts to swinging pony tail. It seems silly but it adds to my enjoyment of the workout."

If clothes don't make a difference to you what else are fitness trackers for? Order up any from the increasing number beginning to be available, grab a bottle of water and get moving. It's best to choose a fitness tracker that syncs with your phone so that you can keep all your data in one place with an app easily. Now shift your focus to the achievement rather than the routine nature of the exercise and you'll soon find it less of a drudgery. The trackers and apps will let you fix goals, giving you something to do and a new preoccupation with which to ward off boredom.

Trackers also allow you to compete and that can dispel boredom. Joining a class for aerobics, dance or kick boxing, etc., makes great sense because competing happens there quite naturally. However, choose a class based on how good the instructor is at keeping people motivated. 

Dressing up, music, watching a movie or chatting while exercising are just temporary fixes for most people. Stick it out long enough and you'll find that exercise and movement become their own motivators. Basically human beings are not built to be sedentary so once you really get into it you keep seeking the movement and even feel restless and uncomfortable without it.

(This story was published in BW | Businessworld Issue Dated 08-09-2014)