Cross Training is for you! It doesn’t matter what your favorite sport or style of workout is – whether pilates yoga, running, strength training, biking, skating, or anything else – overdoing it can be counter-productive. Over-training can slow your progress and unnecessarily delay your goals. Like most people, let’s assume that your goals are to lose weight (most common), improve appearance, and optimize overall fitness. Those are great goals. But you don’t want to get off track due to injury. You want to keep at it and not get discouraged. Cross training can help. Read more for some ideas on how to add cross-training to your workout.
The benefits of cross training include:
- prevent injury
- speed recovery if you are injured (“active recovery”)
- enhance motivation and rejuvenation
- optimize overall fitness
Keep it Fresh
Not to mention the simple enjoyment of participating in a variety of sports. Mixing it up also helps keep your workout fresh: prevent burnout. Let’s look at some of your options to keep you on the path to your goals.
Swimming is low-impact, and has the advantage of working all of the major muscle groups – as long as you actually swim, instead of just splashing about.
Take swimming seriously and you have yourself a serious full-body workout. Get some instruction to optimize your technique for optimal use of your workout time.
Swimming can be especially beneficial to rehab anyone who has sustained an injury during another sport or exercise activity: swimming is non-weight-bearing, so gives your joints and tissues a break from the impact of most sports, speeding recovery.
Biking is low-impact, great cardiovascular exercise; and it’s fun! Wear a helmet! (unless your brain’s not worth protecting).
Both the rolling kind and the ice kind: Another low-impact sport, skating will increase your cardio and respiratory endurance. Perhaps unique among the activities listed here, skating will help increase your balance and coordination. These benefits will carry over to other activities of your life.
If you simply cannot get outside in order to go skating, skiing, or biking, a slide-board in your home can provide some great exercises. Beyond simply reproducing the motions of skating and skiing, there are many exercise-mods that make a slide board an all-around workout. Check out slide-board videos on YouTube for ideas: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sVGWVpFCNco
Skiing – both cross-country and downhill: Another low-impact sport, skiing – especially cross country skiing – will boost your cardio and endurance. The only downside is that you will need to buy or rent some equipment, and get yourself to a place where you can ski. If you’re fortunate, there is a park with trails or a golf-course nearby for some great cross-country skiing.
The beauty of including stair climbing in your cross training mix is that stairs are readily available: stairs are everywhere. There’s nothing extra to take up space in your cramped apartment or get in the way at home or office (all buildings that have elevators also have stairs). No special equipment to buy or rent. And although you will likely want to wear your workout clothes and some comfortable running shoes, you could ‘do stairs’ even if you’re not dressed for a workout. NOTE: climbing stairs burns twice as many calories compared to running! Even a half hour of stair climbing will burn about 500 calories.
Advantage of running: it’s something you learned as a little kid; everyone already knows how to run. And all you need is a quality pair of running shoes to get started (wear some clothes, too). Known advantages include world-class cardio-pulmonary workout. Also, few activities can match running for that “runner’s high,” that sense of being free and in-the-zone that results from the release of endorphins in your brain. Yes, this can be achieved through any exercise, but running is known for providing it.
If you’re a regular runner, be sure to protect your back by optimizing your core fitness! Listen to the Sacred Herbals Core Fitness Mp3 Audio here.
Another great low-impact exercise; Pilates yoga is especially well-suited to aging bodies. Yoga as a discipline is so broad that it is impossible to review here. We will have a complete review of yoga for beginners as an eBook soon. Until then, simply recognize that yoga is a great exercise (yes, it is serious, demanding exercise) to add to your cross training mix. Advantages offered by the practice of yoga include flexibility, and focus (awareness of your physical body), presence, and enhanced mind-body connection. Yoga is a great addition to other workouts: Yoga provides an excellent exercise to augment any workout regimen!
From boxing to the true martial arts of Asia, these are full-body workouts that help build focus, discipline, and great overall fitness. Unique among the activities listed here, practicing any of the martial arts will improve your reflexes – that is, you will develop faster response times. And, your improved reflexes will carry over to other activities in your life where they can keep you safe, like driving and working around machinery.
Don’t dismiss simple walking as a way to mix up your training regimen: There are many benefits of simply going for a brisk walk. There are benefits of simply going outside, and getting you away from your indoor routine. In addition, a brisk walk can bump your heart rate; carry some light weights to boost the cardiovascular workout even further.
Strength training with free weights, or machines, will help you achieve all of the goals listed above: you will get stronger, leaner, improve cardiovascular stamina, and sharpen your mental focus. Physical activities of all sorts share these benefits. One benefit that strength training provides above the others is that is improves bone density and reduces the risk of osteoporosis. This is especially important for women of course, but strength training is important for men also. Keep in mind: muscle burns three times as many calories per pound as fat. So, be sure to include some strength training in your cross-training mix.
For when you over-do things, maybe develop an overuse neuropathy, Neuroveen is a homeopathic remedy (Natural Neuropathy Symptom Relief, with NO SIDE EFFECTS!):
Simple FitnessHAX™ – Mix it up!!
Constantly try new workout routines, new sports, to avoid hitting the “fitness plateau,” and to avoid injuries. Keep it new and fresh for optimal fitness.
For me, the greatest benefit of cross-training is that it provides balanced overall fitness. That is, many sports provide a focused workout – think tennis and the one-sided workout of your tennis arm, chest, and shoulder. Cross-training prevents potential asymmetry and helps achieve a balanced physique. In addition to all those other benefits.
For me, the second-greatest value of cross-training is that it helps keep me from being bored. One of the hardest challenges to beat when you commit to working out is boredom, or burn-out. Cross-training keeps it fresh.
Finally: Don’t underestimate the value of Yoga for optimal fitness. Adding yoga to any fitness regimen not only adds a whole-body component to your physical routine, it adds the mental component. Think of Yoga as moving meditation.
My own daily regimen starts with one of the above activities, followed by Yoga, followed by meditation. Every day if I can, but a minimum of 4 times per week. Rotating through your cross-training activities prevents over-use and injury.
As an added benefit, physical fitness has been shown to keep your brain healthy; to improve general cognitive abilities; to slow the onset of dementia. In other words, exercise makes you smarter!
Go do it! You’ll be glad.
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- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sVGWVpFCNco (YouTube video on exercises based on slide board – awesome workout!)
For when you over-do things, maybe develop an overuse neuropathy, Neuroveen is a homeopathic remedy (it’s safe!)