Although most of us are creatures of habit, when it comes to exercise, it is good to shake up your routine and perform different workouts. By cross training, you can incorporate countless exercises without drastically having to change your routine.
As mentioned before, it is important to add variety to your workout routine. You see, the body adapts to your same 30-minute jog or 25-minute strength routine over time, and rather than continually making fitness gains, you enter a maintenance phase. Plus, doing the same workouts day after day can lead to overuse or potential injuries.
The good news is that if you’re not a fan of change, you get to determine how you alter your workouts. Here are a few tips to get you started:
- If you’re currently performing only one modality (cardio or strength or flexibility), you should incorporate the other modalities as well. So runners need to add weight training and stretching, weightlifters need to adopt cardio and yogis need to do some cardio and strength.
- You don’t have to abandon routine altogether. For instance, you can run on Mondays and Wednesdays, strength train on Tuesdays and Thursdays and do yoga or Pilates on Saturdays.
- Cross training can fit into one workout session. You can run for 10 minutes, cycle for 10 minutes, row for 10 minutes and do some core work and stretching for 10 minutes. Done!
- Combining strength and cardio makes for efficient cross training. Try doing the elliptical for a few minutes, then jump off and perform two minutes of a strength training exercise with dumbbells or a resistance band, and then return to the elliptical for cardio. Continue alternating intervals for a powerful session.
- If you need new ideas, try a class at your health club or park district; join a walking or volleyball club; sign up for swimming or tennis lessons; check out some workout DVDs or online exercise programs; test exercise plans in fitness magazines; or hire a trainer to develop several programs for you.
- Don’t lose sight of the value of some non-traditional types of exercise, such as golfing, kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, dancing and more. With cross training, the more variety, the better.
Cross training is valuable not only because it continually challenges your body in different ways, but also because it keeps your mind fresh and helps you stay motivated to be consistent with your workouts over the long haul. There are few rules with cross training, so get started today!