Understanding the Importance of Cross-Training Activities & Exercises
Do you have a particular exercise you can't get enough of? Maybe it's lifting weights. Or perhaps you're an avid rock climber. While it's fine to be devoted to one sport, you owe it to your body to "mix it up" now and then through cross-training activities.
Cross-training exercises allow you to enjoy tremendous benefits every time you engage in workouts:
- Muscle versatility. When you're focused on only one sport, you're not working all your muscles. In fact, some of the muscles in your body may become atrophied even though you think you're in shape! Cross-training forces your muscles out of their comfort zones.
- Lowered injury risk. If you've ever had an overuse injury, you know how hard it can be on your body and your psyche. By cross-training your muscles, bones, tendons and ligaments, you're actually lowering your chances of getting hurt. How? You’re improving and strengthening the other parts of your body surrounding the ones that are constantly being used.
- Excitement. Feel like your sport has lost its pizzazz? Is it tough to get out of bed to go on that five-miler at six o'clock or hit the gym for an hour-long session after a long day on the job? Cross-training will move you out of your doldrums by introducing you to new challenges to keep you motivated and coming back for more.
- Weight loss. Has your weight loss plateaued? That's a common lament among exercisers who feel like they're working harder but seeing far fewer results. The problem isn't that you're not exercising, but that your body isn't responding anymore to what you're doing. Change it up, and you should start to see the scale respond positively again.
Like what you hear? Then read on for some cross-training ideas that really work!
Cross-Training Activities to Try Today
Cross-training doesn't mean you have to eliminate the activities you love. You merely have to substitute some of your time in one area for other areas.
Below are a few cross-training exercises you can do on your own or with the help of a personal trainer to ensure you're using correct form:
- Weightlifting. Are you a cardio junkie? Force yourself to lift some weights at least one time a week. You'll see more definition and discover just how sculpted your body can be.
- Yoga and Pilates. Many avid exercisers are surprised to discover that yoga and Pilates rapidly instill a stronger core. Sure, they look like they're just a bunch of gentle stretches, but don't be fooled. You'll be sweating before you know it, and you'll see and feel the benefits.
- Running. Have you put off doing any kind of cardio work in favor of your bodybuilding dreams? Wake up and smell the treadmill. Running is a great way to get some aerobic activity into your life in addition to your anaerobic exercises.
- Rock climbing. Never tried rock climbing or ninja training? You owe it to your heart and muscles to explore the opportunities available.
- Team sports. Finally, why not join a pick-up basketball or other type of sports team? Team activities help you exercise new muscles and challenge your competition while introducing you to other exercise fans!
It's never too early to get started on cross-training activities. Add some to your routines now and reinvigorate your active lifestyle.