With the New Year underway, many people are well into their new fitness routines. Whether you’ve made exercise an established habit, or are working to do so, let’s talk about the advantages of cross training and switching things up a bit.
Did you know that most people stick with the same exercise routine for months, if not years? Not only can this get really boring really quick, but it’s also not the best for your body or your results.
The term “cross training” simply means practicing/training in two or more types of exercise. For example, if you are an avid runner, cross training would mean you would also incorporate other activities like biking, swimming, strength training etc. But why is this so important to do?
Trying out new things is always a great way to spice up a boring routine. If your routine consists of a rotation between two different classes, the treadmill, yoga, and a strength-training routine, this keeps you from repeating the same workout over and over again. Think about it this way – if you were to eat a bowl of oatmeal every single morning for two months straight, how quickly would you start to get bored of oatmeal? I’m assuming pretty quickly. Cross training helps you maintain your enthusiasm for exercise, making it possible to train harder and more consistently.
Walking on the treadmill for 30 minutes, three times a week might have gotten you great results at first, but pretty soon you will hit a plateau. When you repeatedly do the same routine, your body starts to get used to it and you will no longer get the same results that you once did. Another benefit of cross training is that the variety ensures that you target all areas of the body. Nobody wants to have super strong legs and then a weak core and upper body, right? If you are a cardio lover, make sure to incorporate strength training into your routine to help maintain your muscle mass and achieve a healthier body composition.
How many people do you know how have experienced an exercise-related injury? Well, did you know that a lot of these injuries could have been prevented with cross training? Cross training prevents people from experiencing overuse injuries. For example, the repetitive motion in running can lead to shin splints or even knee pain. Mixing it up with some low-impact cycling or swimming can be a great alternative cardio workout. A good cross-training routine would also include some sort of stretching/yoga, which keeps you moving efficiently and decreases your risk of injury.
Overall, just remember that variety is key! Try thinking of a list of activities that you can do at home (running/walking, biking, bodyweight strength exercises) or find a gym near you that offers a variety of class and equipment! The more options you have access to, the better your routine will be!
Thanks Cornerstone Clubs and author Theresa Whitcomb
To see more Fitness in the Keys features visit our archives.