Cross-training isn’t just for elite athletes or those friends of yours that are obsessed with CrossFit. There are many practical uses for it in everyday life and even for your overall health.
Let’s start by defining what cross-training means. ‘Cross-training’ is simply an exercise regimen that uses several modes of training to develop a specific component of fitness. Another way to say this is that cross-training is doing more than one type of exercise (lifting weights, yoga, running, etc.).
What kind of benefits can you see from introducing this to your own fitness routine?
The benefit that people probably enjoy the most is the weight loss that accompanies this type of training. It enables people to burn significantly more calories than a single type of exercise alone. There are numerous studies that prove that combining aerobic and anaerobic exercise can improve the number of calories that you burn.
Training muscular fitness in combination with aerobic conditioning, your overall fitness will benefit and can pay substantial dividends. While you won’t be getting ‘yoked’ nearly as quick as strength training alone, incorporating the combination will improve your overall muscular strength and functional capacities.
Cross-training will also reduce your risk of injury. This is through a combination of spreading out the stress impact on muscles and joints without overloading them. For example, if you are someone who likes to run long-distances, you could consider doing something more low-impact such as swimming, cycling, or even an elliptical. With this being said, make sure that you also have a balanced rest-to-work ratio for all your exercise routines. There are many competitive cross-trainers that are known to overwork and cause injuries due to their lack of rest.
The last benefit could be arguably the most important. Cross-training allows people to keep active for longer by adding variety. By enabling people to not become bored with their exercise routines, adherence to long-term exercise is promoted by reducing injuries and boredom.
You too can get all these benefits by refreshing your exercise routine and adding in some simple challenges that are outside your normal routine. Try alternating what you normally do with a new form of exercise and enjoy all the benefits that cross-training can offer.
-Amber Moyer, Exercise Specialist