This past Thursday the thought of running the same route again was enough to make me reconsider lacing up my takkies. After staring out the window I saw in the distance a house-covered hill I’d never run up, and my excitement for running sparked again. So what is it about adding something new to our routines that is necessary to keep us happily engaged in our favorite activities?
Why it’s our big brains of course. When that gray matter becomes accustomed to a steady diet of the same exercise routine over and over it stops trying hard, and our motivation decreases. All those nerve endings require stimulation, even something so small as heading up an unfamiliar hill gets them fired up.
And yes I know we get bombarded with new stimuli everyday via workplaces, traveling and the internet, and sometimes we just want to see the familiar when out walking or running or doing the same classes at the gym or studio — but when our muscles become used to a certain level of effort they won’t get stronger unless we tweak our routines. Just one day a week confuse and excite the brain by doing an unexpected move, the endorphins are worth the upset to the usual scheduled maintenance of the healthy body…
[Img.Src: Sandgate, 1900ish]