One of the most effective ways to incorporate regular fitness into your lifestyle is by doing activities that you enjoy. Exercising doesn’t need to be a continual battle of working out in ways that don’t also make you feel good or bring a feeling of accomplishment. Instead, by seeking out activities that challenge your strength or get your heart rate up, whatever form they take, you can integrate regular fitness into your life in a sustainable way.
The downside to having go-to fitness activities comes from when you’re doing them too often. If you do the same forms of cardio or strength building every single time you exercise, your body will adapt to those activities. That’s where complementary fitness can come into play. With a little diversification in your workouts, you can do something different while also building the strength or endurance to support you in other activities you enjoy.
Why Should You Diversify Your Workouts?
Our bodies are adaptable, which means that if you aren’t changing the intensity or difficulty of your workouts your body will reach a plateau point where you’re not seeing any further gains in strength or endurance. This can be frustrating if you’re striving towards a fitness goal, like training for a race, reaching a new one-rep maximum, or improving your ability in a specific sport. And even if you’re not trying to reach a new fitness height, continually challenging your body helps bring about the many benefits of exercise like reducing the risk of heart attack and heart disease, lowering blood pressure, reducing inflammation, and improving lung capacity.
Complementary Workout Pairs
Adding to your workout options doesn’t have to mean ditching the activities that you enjoy most. One of the best ways to add a little challenge to your fitness lifestyle is by incorporating a complementary exercise into the mix. A complementary exercise might work similar or supporting muscle groups related to the activities you enjoy most. It may add a strength component where you primarily focus on cardio, or vice versa. Here are some of our favorite cardio and strength training pairs.
- Running & Yoga: Running and yoga are an ideal pair for people who enjoy the endurance-challenging aspect of running and want to complement it with the slow strength-building practice of yoga.
- Cycling & Weight Lifting: Cycling is an excellent way to get your heart pumping and legs moving without the impact on your knees of running. Weight lifting is an ideal complement to provide some of the upper-body and core strength that will support you as you cycle.
- Rowing & Strength-Based Exercise Classes: If you enjoy rowing for its low-impact cardio capabilities, a good complement would be a strength-based exercise class like Barre or Pilates. These classes are designed to build muscle strength and tone while not requiring a large amount of high-intensity or high-impact movements.