While many people want to develop a fitness regimen to maximize wellness, they often fail to do so because of a lack of understanding regarding which types of exercises will improve their health. Some have been told that cardiovascular movements such as running or spinning are integral to greater physical fitness, while others have been led to believe that weight-lifting is an ideal endeavor for those who want to feel great. Although both exercises are advantageous, alternating between each type of workout will likely produce greater results and personal satisfaction than doing either in isolation. Called cross-training, this type of exercising is loosely defined as a regimen that incorporates several different modes of training to develop greater fitness. There are several reasons why this kind of workout can increase your fitness level.
1. Cross-training prevents boredom.
According to ACE Fitness, research indicates that people often quit exercise programs because they do not find the workouts interesting. One way to prevent this from happening is to combine several different types of exercises into one session, such as a 30-minute run followed by 20 minutes of weight-lifting. Another effective form of cross-training could include doing different exercises on different days, which could be accomplished by an hour of exercise on the elliptical Wednesday followed by 45-minute spin session on a bike the following Thursday.
2. Cross-training prevents muscle injury.
As the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons reports, cross-training can result in fewer injuries because you do not use the same muscle in the same way all the time when you complete different types of exercises. Ultimately, when we do the same fitness program repeatedly, we run the risk of overusing one muscle, which can entail injury. However, when we are constantly changing our workout, we preclude this from happening by giving the muscle groups not being used a much-needed break.
3. Cross-training helps balance your muscle groups.
When we do the same fitness program repeatedly, we strengthen the muscles involved in completing the exercise but neglect those existing in other regions of the body that are not being used. However, choosing to alter our workout plan gives us an opportunity to exercise different muscles. Certified fitness coach Christine Luff affirms this idea upon analyzing how cross-training benefits runners. In noting that the enterprise helps balance muscle groups, Luff maintains that cross-training helps strengthen non-running muscles while resting those used to run. For example, she says, switching your workout to train your inner thighs strengthens muscles that are not primarily used in running.
As an avid exerciser, I know and have experienced the benefits of cross-training. Because I bore easily and have trained my body to perform various 45-to-50 minute cardiovascular workouts without extreme difficulty, I am constantly changing my fitness program to increase intensity levels and incorporate variety. For this reason, a day of exercise for me could include anything from spinning to Tae-Bo. In recognizing the importance of constantly changing one’s workout, I would encourage those interested in maximizing wellness through cross-training to consider breaking up a weekly routine of running every day with two or three weight-lifting sessions. Another plan could include alternating between the elliptical machine and intense yoga sessions. Other combinations exist and-when done properly-you increase the likelihood of walking in a greater dimension of health and wellness.