Cardio workouts are a great way to get in shape and stay in shape. However, some people feel that by limiting themselves to a single machine (such as a treadmill, elliptical or stairmaster), they’ll be able to master its idiosyncrasies, and thus provide a better overall workout in the longrun. However, creating such limitations can hamper your ability to lose weight and build lean muscle effectively. Why is this so? Below are some reasons why incorporating different cardio machines into your workout routine can work to your advantage.
Challenge Your Body to Avoid Hitting a Plateau
How many times have you started a workout routine only to hit a wall about a month into it where the results just don’t add up? This is called hitting your plateau. It happens because your body has learned to cope with your new workout routine. The body is designed for survival first, so when you start using a large part of its energy supply suddenly, it learns to adapt in order to conserve what it has left. So, how do you overcome this? Varying your routine is the perfect place to start.
Mixing it up essentially throws your adaptive-minded body a curveball. Varying the method of your cardio workouts keeps the body from being able to adapt to a single routine. So, if you’re using the treadmill four times a week, try using it one day, and then moving over to a treadmill the next day (and then the stationary bike on the third day). Your body won’t have the opportunity to adapt, and the weightloss can continue.
Keep Things Interesting
Cardio workouts don’t necessarily need to be fun; you should find them challenging and, in the end, fulfilling. That being said, if you do stick to one machine, the workouts can become monotonous and boring because they all require that you repeat the same motions over and over again in succession. Though you can plug in your ipod or watch one of the gym television sets, these distractions will only keep your attention for so long. Varying up your routine, though, will allow you to focus more on what you’re doing, and thus occupy your mind more thoroughly.
You’ll find that you’re spending less time counting down the remaining minutes and seconds and more time focusing on proper technique and best practices. Plus, getting bored can easily lead to skipping workouts or even giving up altogether. Switching up your routine will allow you a host of new goals to work toward and attain, keeping you motivated and willing to make the trek to the gym just so you can see what you can do.
Protection from Overuse Injuries
The most typical type of cardio-related injuries arise from overuse of a single muscle group. Muscle strains and sore joints are usually caused by too much time spent on one cardio machine. Varying your workout routines allows you to work different (even if they’re only slightly different) muscles and joints in order to avoid strain caused by overuse, keeping you fresh and limber for each subsequent workout.