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Posted on 03-10-2017

7 Modifications for Year-Round Fitness Challenges By Paige Johnson

Sometimes it’s not about getting bored with a particular workout, but simply the modalities you’ve become accustomed to. Modifying workouts is a necessity, not just to keep workouts challenging and interesting, but also to adapt them to changes in weather. This is especially critical if you prefer your fitness outside and live in a region where rough winters or hot summers make it difficult to keep up with your routines.


Fortunately, there are countless modifications for nearly every sport and workout. Experiment with small changes and you might fall in love all over again with a beloved form of fitness. Here are a few options to get started:

1.Add some weight. This doesn’t mean you have to pack on extra weight of your own, but if you want more of a challenge during your walks, runs, leg lifts or many other exercises, adding light hand weights, wrist weights and ankle weights are all great options. You can do this during spring and autumn when the weather is most temperate and it’s “easiest” to workout outdoors.

2.Get a bigger, more energetic dog. You certainly don’t have to give up your beloved fur baby, but if you count walking your Chihuahua one block as a workout, that’s not going to cut it for very long. It’s a challenging workout when you have two-inch legs, but not for a human. Burn some extra calories by becoming a pet sitter. That way you’ll get to play with a variety of energetic pups of all shapes and sizes or volunteer to walk the dogs at a local shelter.

3.Seek out unpaved paths. Whether you’re a walker, jogger or cyclist, it’s time to give up the pavement—at least some of the time. You might find a variety of materials, like bark chips, in your area, and all of them are going to be more of a challenge than pavement. Particularly if you’re on your feet and not two wheels, looking for unpaved paths will be typically gentler on your joints while offering an extra challenge to your feet in terms of balance.

4.Wear weighted shoes. Unless you’re an avid runner or walker, you might not know that shoes come in a variety of weights. A few ounces might not sound like a huge difference, but it certainly can be when you’re going long distances. Some marathoners like to train in heavier shoes then wear a lighter option on race day. You can do the same, getting a little more strength training along with your cardio instead of being completely light on your feet.

5.Try yoga with or without a mirror. Whichever is your norm, try switching it up. Mirrors can be great for checking alignment, but they can also be distracting and teach you to pay attention to other, more trivial things (like how your hair is looking). Trying a new studio, place to practice on your own, instructor and so forth are always fun ways to step up your asana game. Double down and try a brand new type of practice while you’re at it, such as Hatha, Ashtanga, or hot yoga.

6.Take your indoor workout outdoors (and vice versa). If you normally practice Pilates inside, head to the park or find a group class that offers special summer “outings.” If you’re an avid runner and anti-treadmill, give it another shot and check out the latest bells and whistles that new state-of-the-art treadmills feature. Simply switching environments from your norm will surprise the body (including the mind) and give you a new workout.

7.Go solo or with a group. Most of us have a preference on whether we like to workout with others or not depending on the activity. Whatever your usual preference is, shake things up. Check out a local cycling group or spin class instead of your usual solo ride. If you’re used to lifting weights in a class and feel intimidated by the weight section, challenge yourself to a solo session.

Modifications are good for us because the body adjusts to routines very quickly. How will you keep your body guessing?

You can find more information about Paige Johnson, personal trainer, at  You can find more information about Paige Johnson, personal trainer, at learnfit.org..

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