6 creative ways to transform your workouts

Try relocating your workouts to a new spot for a change of pace.

(CNN)Most people know working out is good for your health, both physical and mental. But staying motivated -- especially for the long haul -- can be a struggle. Sure, you may get excited about training for a 5K or 10K, but once the race is over, your interest in running may quickly wane. Or you may be crazy about your new spin class, only to become tired of it after a few weeks.

Getting bored with exercise is normal. A recent study by the National Institutes of Health found boredom with sports activities is a prevalent emotion among amateur, college and even professional athletes.
People grow tired of their exercise routines because the body-mind unit is like a Jack Russell terrier, said Dr. Dan O'Neill, a sports psychologist and orthopaedic surgeon based in Plymouth, New Hampshire. "You need to always give it new challenges, new input, new ideas, new toys, new workout clothes -- new, new, new."
    This means varying your workouts is vital to staying motivated, O'Neill said. And now that the calendar has flipped to a brand-new year, it's the perfect time to inject some creativity into your exercise regimen. Here are six ways to get started.
      Important note: Before beginning any new exercise program, consult your doctor. Stop immediately if you experience pain.

      Create a word or image with your exercise route

      Use a GPS device to "draw" a word or image as you run.
      Runners often map routes through city streets that create a word or image, then use a GPS device to "draw" it as they run. You can do the same, whether your favored exercise is running, walking or biking.
        First, download a fitness app onto your mobile phone, smartwatch or fitness tracker. A few options are Nike+ Run Club, Strava Training and Runtastic. Then sketch out your message (HOPE!) or favored image (e.g., a heart or dog) online, using a mapping tool such as Map My Run. This way you'll know exactly where to go. When you're ready to head out, don't forget to start your device's GPS tracker. Afterward, make sure to stop your tracker and save your artwork so you can share it with others.
        Not sure what image or message to create? You can always follow artistic routes others have created and shared in the apps. Some are impressively complex and may take several excursions to complete. But that's part of the fun.

        Join a free fitness group

        Exercising can be more fun with others, so look for group fitness opportunities.