A photo a white man's hand casting dice into a stairwell to represent the topic of the article - How To Avoid Fitness Boredom With 'The Dice Man'

How To Avoid Fitness Boredom With ‘The Dice Man’

My partner often talks about The Dice Man by Luke Rhinehart, which, in a nutshell, is a book about how someone leaves every decision to a die to decide. However, the book gets really dark from what my partner has told me about it, nonetheless; the concept struck a chord with me. When the pandemic hit and my partner and I started to do exercise sessions together by video chat, I suggested we incorporated The Dice Man method. We did this by allowing ‘chance’ to decide what exercises we do to keep us from suffering from fitness boredom. I’ve always found that exercising can become boring, real fast, which doesn’t help with motivation.

 

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The Benefits Of Exercising For Our Mental Wellbeing

 

Exercise is not only good for your physical health, but your mental health and overall wellbeing. It’s why exercise in one shape or form is always recommended by your doctor or therapist. People have been reporting the benefits of exercise on mental health for as long as I can remember. One such group of people were Taylor, Sallis, and Needle (1985), who said that for clinical and non-clinical people, physical activity and exercise might help improve mental health and even prevent mental health conditions forming, through the effects fitness has on improving self-confidence, cognition, and self-esteem.

 

Another such group of people are Stathopoulou, Powers, Berry, Smits, and Otto (2006) who conducted a meta-analysis that supported Taylor, Sallis, and Needle (1985) claims. Their meta-analysis was conducted on 11 studies, the results of which indicated that exercise can be a useful intervention in battling clinical depression. Due to the results they found, they believe fitness-based intervention should be recommended to patients with depression to coincide (not replace) with other treatments, such as CBT therapy or the use of a pharmacotherapy approach (i.e. antidepressants).

 

These findings were also supported by Morgan, Parker, Alvarez-Jimenez, and Jorm (2013) who performed a review of the evidence of the benefits of exercise on mental health. Their review found that exercise may help improve the symptoms of mental health conditions, like anxiety and depression, as well as improving the functioning of those with psychotic disorders.

 

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What Is Fitness Boredom?

 

As human beings, we’re creatures of habit. Our brains love a shortcut so we form habits and routines to save energy by allowing our brain to create these energy shortcuts so we don’t have to waste time and effort on thinking. However, these shortcuts might make things easier for us, but they sure don’t make things interesting, especially in the gym. For the most part, most of our habits and routines go largely unnoticed by us, but when you’re trying to exercise, fitness boredom is a real problem that’ll sap your motivation and turn exercise into a chore. But we don’t want exercise to turn into a chore if we’re using it to support our mental health.

 

A big part of keeping exercising fun is trying new things or to allocate different exercise sessions to different tasks. For example, if you were a bodybuilder you might have leg day, chests and arms sessions, and cardio sessions. Listening to different playlists or working out to an audiobook are other ways you might be able to combat fitness boredom. But if you’re anything like me, that’s not really enough on its own.

 

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Using ‘The Dice Man’ To Alleviate Fitness Boredom

 

One of the main problems with exercising is fitness boredom. Exercise can become boring quite easily, especially if you’re not doing it for a specific reason, like training for a marathon or wanting to increase your muscle mass. So to try and keep fitness interesting and you engaged in exercising, why not add some randomisation to your workout. You could avoid fitness boredom by using dice like in The Dice Man. In The Dice Man, the protagonist makes daily decisions based on the roll of a die. But in this instance, you’ll be using a die to determine your exercises so you never know what you’ll be doing, thus helping to avoid fitness boredom.

 

There are several ways you could use dice to spice up your exercise routine. One way would be to create a list and roll a dice to pick which exercise you’ll do from that list. Another way to do this would be to separate your exercises into several categories and then roll a die for the category you want to focus on during specific stages during your exercise session. For example, you could have 6 warm-up exercises you roll a die for to start, then another 6 for cardio to follow which you’d then roll a die for.

 

Obviously, the effectiveness of this would depend on how many sides your dice has. You can get dice with a lot of different sides and if you play tabletop games like Warhammer 40,000 by Games Workshop or D&D then you’ll be familiar with multi-sided dice, but have you seen the 100 sided dice?

 

 

The first thing to do might be to sort yourself out some dice so you can use them to randomise your exercise routine. Then, you might want to start searching online to check out exercises, such as checking out yoga poses. While you’re checking out exercises online, you can then create the list for your dice rolling. Once you’ve finished your exercises list, you can either break the exercises up into segments, like strength, cardio, and stretches and assign them numbers that will correspond with your die or assign them a number as a single long list of exercises.

 

You could also do what my partner and I did, and combine them both, sorting them into categories of exercise but also giving each their own number, so you can mix up how you’ll randomise your exercise session. Furthermore, you could even have different exercise lists for the different days you’ll exercise on, so you can avoid repeating any of the exercises again that week.

 

The picture is split in two with the top image being of a two women exercising together and the bottom image being of a bag overfloating with dice. The two images are separated by the article title - How To Avoid Fitness Boredom With 'The Dice Man'

 

My list

To help you get an idea of how to use the dice method to avoid fitness boredom, below is the exercise list my partner and I use once a week. This list of exercises can be done with a D50.

 

Cardio
1. Star jumps.
2. Knees to chest.
3. Heels to bum.
4. Jumping on the spot.
5. Squat and jump with a turn.

 

Strength
6. Rowing.
7. Squats.
8. Side leg raises.
9. Back leg raises.
10. Knee to shoulder.
11. Extended leg rotations.
12. Extended leg squeezes.
13. Bicep curls.
14. Chest press.
15. Chest fly.
16. Lat pulldowns.
17. Glute bridge.
18. Russian twists.
19. Bicycle crunches.
20. Plank.
21. Side lunge.
22. Push-ups.
23. Tricep extensions.
24. Pull-apart.
25. L-shaped tricep raises.
26. Squat and raise.
27. Lunges (forward or reverse).
28. Clamshell.

 

Stretches
29. Child pose.
30. Cat pose.
31. Sphinx.
32. Cobra.
33. Quad stretch.
34. Lunge.
35. Lunge with knee down.
36. Hamstring.
37. Pigeon.
38. Butterfly.
39. Happy cat/sad cat/disco cat.
40. Spine twist stretch.
41. Figure of 4.
42. Pike fold.
43. Straddle fold.
44. Side stretch.
45. Twisted side stretch.
46. Figure of 8.
47. Downward dog.
48. Standing forward bend.
49. Knees to chest with a rock.
50. Supine twist.

 

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To make these exercises extra random, you could randomise how long you’d do them for as well by using your dice. For example, if you used a six-sided dice, you could have: 1 = 30 seconds or 10 reps, 2 = 40 seconds or 20 reps, 3 = 50 seconds or 30 reps, 4 = 60 seconds or 40 reps, 5 = 70 seconds or 50 reps, and 6 = 80 seconds 60 reps.

 

Apps

Alternatively, if don’t want to have to carry dice around to roll dice whenever you’re in the mood to exercise, you could use a dice rolling app or a random number generator. I’ve given a few a try to there’s two I’d recommend. Sorry to all your iPhone uses, but I’m an Android user and the ones I tried I couldn’t find in Apple’s app store.

 

Random number generator

This random number generator app was one of the first I tried, and it’s a pretty straightforward app. You just need to set your number range, for example, from (1) and to (50). You then have the choice to set if it’ll be allowed to repeat any number or not, then you just click the refresh button, and boom, a number is generated. After each exercise is complete, generate a new number so you know what you’re doing next.

 

Google Play store button to take you to the App page

 

Random Number Generator Plus – Dice, Lotto, Coins

This app is a little more advance and doesn’t come with any ads, at least none that I’ve seen so far. With this app you can use it to generate a list of numbers all at once, so say you have 160 different exercises in your list, you could set the minimum number to 1 and the maximum number to 160. Once you’ve done that, you can pick how many numbers you need, so if you wanted to do 15 different exercises, then put in 15 and tap the generate button and I’ll give you 15 different numbers in a list. Job done. Now you just have to work through them.

 

Google Play store button to take you to the App page

 

As always, leave your feedback in the comments section below. Also, feel free to share your experiences of fitness boredom and exercising for your mental health in the comments section below as well. Don’t forget to bookmark my site and if you want to stay up-to-date with my blog, then sign up for my newsletter below. Alternatively, get push notifications for new articles by clicking the red bell icon in the bottom right corner.

 

Lastly, if you’d like to support my blog, you can make a donation of any size below. Until next time, Unwanted Life readers.

 

 

 

References

 

Morgan, A. J., Parker, A. G., Alvarez-Jimenez, M., & Jorm, A. F. (2013). Exercise and mental health: an exercise and sports science Australia commissioned review. Journal of Exercise Physiology Online16(4), 64-73. Retrieved from https://www.asep.org/asep/asep/JEPonlineAUGUST2013_Morgan.pdf.

Taylor, C. B., Sallis, J. F., & Needle, R. (1985). The relation of physical activity and exercise to mental health. Public health reports (Washington, D.C.: 1974), 100(2), 195–202. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1424736/pdf/pubhealthrep00100-0085.pdf.

Stathopoulou, G., Powers, M. B., Berry, A. C., Smits, J. A., & Otto, M. W. (2006). Exercise interventions for mental health: a quantitative and qualitative review. Clinical psychology: Science and practice13(2), 179-193. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-2850.2006.00021.x and https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Mark-Powers-3/publication/229476052_Exercise_Interventions_for_Mental_Health_A_Quantitative_and_Qualitative_Review/links/5b951c4f4585153a53114485/Exercise-Interventions-for-Mental-Health-A-Quantitative-and-Qualitative-Review.pdf.

51 thoughts on “How To Avoid Fitness Boredom With ‘The Dice Man’

  1. This is such a great idea! I started exercising during lockdown and truly helped with my mood and overall mental and physical health. Though I stopped after a while as it became monotonous so this would be a great idea to spice it up! I love that you can also use it not only for the type of exercise but also number of reps and different method. Thanks for sharing x

  2. That’s so funny, my brother in law does something similar! I love exercise and try to mix up running with long walks, dance classes, yoga and Hiit.
    Rosie

  3. Wow. I remember reading The Dice Man many years ago (I might see if I can dig it out and re-read it now that you have reminded me about it).

    What a great idea for adding some variety to workouts. Boredom is a big factor for some when it comes to exercise so anything that can avoid that has to be a good thing. The thing that ultimately resulted in me stopping my long distance (for me!) runs was the endless plod, plod, plod – changing routes helps … but you are still plodding! 😉

  4. This is a great idea. I’m somewhat limited in the kinds of exercise I can do, and I get bored pretty quickly. I sometimes look for fitness videos on YouTube to follow, but it has to be low-impact and not repetitive. Using dice to have a random routine could be fun. I used to be pretty athletic, and I’ve noticed my mental health getting worse as my physical condition deteriorates. I need to get back into some kind of exercise program.

    • I know how you feel, since my health bottomed out it’s a struggle to exercise. But when I had the will to go to the gym, even though I’d lose the ability to move for 45 minutes within the first 15 minutes of my workout, I’d feel extremely rough physically after completing a 2 hour workout, but mentally quite well. However, after a while I just couldn’t handle how terrible I felt physically or the embarrassment of being unable to move for so long at every gym session, and thus, gave up

  5. I have hit up against fitness boredom from time to time! As I know only one pilates routine, I am definitely looking to learn a couple new ones so I can alternate between three over mornings. However, I enjoy the idea of the Dice Man strategy as a way to keep exercise fresh, unexpected, and no less challenging. I have dice from D4’s to the 100-sided dice; I play tabletop and role playing games all involving dice. 🙂
    Thanks for sharing a handy suggested list of exercises too!

  6. Hey, loved this post. I decided to throw together your exercises into a random output generator so, with your phone, say, you can pull up a random exercise & time/rep from this list at the push of a button!

    https://perchance.org/random-exercise-generator

    If you create a free “perchance” account, you can click “edit” on this generator and change the exercises/time/reps to whatever you want and customize it for yourself (it creates a clone of the generator and doesn’t mess with the original). Enjoy!

  7. YAHTZEE!!!!!!!
    This is a great jdea. It’s like Two-Face, only on steroids (figuratively. Don’t use steroids, kids)! I like to hike, which is easy to change up the scenery, but when that isn’t an option, this is a fantastic way of keeping things fresh.

  8. When the pandemic started I was not really working out at all but after a couple of months I really got into working out. I like going to the gym. I like changing bio my routine. I recently started running on the treadmill which was something I never did before. Gym boredom is real and it’s good to change up your routine.

  9. I’ve actually never heard of this game before, and I love that you’ve discussed the impact this can have on any fitness boredom people may be feeling. Thank you for sharing this insight 🙂

  10. I love how well researched your posts always are. The student/teacher in me loves a deep dive!

    This is an excellent way to alleviate workout fatigue! I might give this random method a try! Thanks for the idea!

  11. Really interesting how you’ve applied it! Exercise can get so monotonous and it’s great to have an easy way to mix it up! Apps can be handy to do that but I think this way you have more control on what you’re doing and when

    • It allows you to have a move active role in your exercise, even though it’s being left to fate. Plus, you might discover new stuff to try as you create your lists

  12. Very interesting! The opposite to systematic training. Sounds super fun to do. I will give it a try! Haha thank you for the list. Definitely too lazy to do my research.

  13. This is a good way to motivate us to exercise. Yeah, sometimes we do feel so lazy to exercise. I usually tune on K-Pop songs to motivate me to exercise. K-pop songs makes me feel energetic and happy to exercise.

  14. This is such a good idea! I always find myself bored with exercise! I may purchase some dice and see what happens! Hopefully low numbers are on the cards for me hahaha

  15. I absolutely LOVE this post and the idea of using dice to determine which exercise to do. I got a few videos I follow/do each week and yes, it gets boring. But with this I can make it fun. Make a list of what videos (abs/arms/etc.) and then add numbers and roll the dice! I am sure it will make things more interesting~

  16. This is such a fab idea honestly. I am not a fan of exercising. I know the benefits of exercising can not be overemphasized. But I don’t like it and I feel like these could help get me into the exercising spirit! Lovely post x

  17. What a great idea to use the die to eliminate boredom in our fitness routines! I have to say that lately I’ve been doing mostly online group exercises, so it’s up to the coach to make sure we don’t get bored, but I’m about to get back into yoga which I practice alone at home. Your solution will really help me not only with the poses, but also with the type of yoga to do each session. Yoga helps me a lot both physically and mentally. It is my second favorite activity after swimming. Thank you for your help!

  18. I’ve never come across this before but it sounds intriguing – totally agree about how exercise can become boring! I only really enjoy walking or yoga to get me moving!

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