FEELING GREAT: Why do people insist on doing the same exercise all of the time?

Remember in last week’s column, I wrote about the “happiness trap” and not wanting to risk ever being happier, just in case we’re left feeling unhappier?

"Mix it up with new things like yoga and Pilates, or even a gentle jog or a weekly swim."
"Mix it up with new things like yoga and Pilates, or even a gentle jog or a weekly swim."

Well, let me tell you something simple: when you know this is happening to you, it’s much easier to override it.

It’s the reason why I sometimes love to do what appear to others to be quite random things, such as try to talk to new people who I don’t know and am never likely to meet again, try new outdoor adventure sports and even employ new staff who are nothing like any others that I’ve got around me – just to work with different characters.

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For most people as they live their lives, the reality is that they’re not eager to do new things and I always respect that when speaking to patients in the Paul Gough Physio Rooms.

The problem is, not wanting to try new things can seriously impact people’s health – and I find that a lot more difficult to ignore!

It’s true that doing the unfamiliar and the unexpected have been proven to bring happiness. I accept that it might be a tad reckless to want to spontaneously change jobs or careers every other week if you are unhappy.

But, given that happiness can be found just by doing something unfamiliar or unexpected, what’s stopping you from changing your exercise routines once in a while and trying something new in an attempt to bring more happiness? Nothing, when you think about it!

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Besides, doing the same exercise routine night after night is not good for your joints or your muscles.

So there are two very good reasons for changing a routine or varying the exercise you do – one physical, one psychological, but both proven to make you happier and healthier. So why do people insist on doing the same thing when it comes to exercise?

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Quite simply because they feel safe doing so.

It was OK yesterday, they felt good for doing it then, so they think that if they just keep doing it, they’ll keep feeling good about it after that. But you can’t possibly continue to feel the same level of happiness from the same source, so it’s in your best interests to mix it up with new things like yoga and Pilates, or even a gentle jog or a weekly swim.