If you have ever looked at any kind of exercise training plan or read a fitness magazine, you have most likely seen the term “cross train” once or twice. Some people are intimidated by this term because they aren’t quite sure what “cross training” would be in regards to their current routine. It is actually a very simple concept, and one we should all incorporate into our workout schedules.
What is cross training?
Cross training is simply engaging in more than one type of activity to achieve your goals. For example, people training for a running event may do the elliptical or a kickboxing class once or twice a week for their cardio workout. Any activity other than your “primary” training activity is considered cross training.
How can cross training help my routine?
Cross training has numerous benefits. First, it adds variety to your workouts. Many of us start slacking on exercise when we start to get bored with the same old routine. Cross training gives you a chance to mix up your activities and avoid boredom.
Another benefit of cross training is reducing the risk of injury. Repetitive movements and training can be hard on the body and can result in injuries such as stress fractures, pulled muscles, or exhaustion. Cross training recruits muscles to work in a variety of ways, allowing more muscles to become more well developed. This can reduce the risk of injury and increase strength and performance.
Cross training is also very beneficial if you are injured. For example, if you are a runner and injure your foot, you can stay active with rowing, swimming, or water running. These activities will work your muscles and maintain your cardiovascular health while the injured body part heals.
Even if you are not training for an athletic event, adding cross training to your routine is a great way to keep your workouts fresh and your body safe from injury. Try a new class, go for a bike ride instead of a run—mixing it up offers the best benefit from your exercise routine.