Cross Training – what it is and why we should do it.
August 2019 Fitness & Wellness Corner
By Christie L. Simoson, Assistant Fitness Director
Human beings are certainly creatures of habit. We typically find that those who like running, just run, and those who like to bike, well, just bike. If you do the same thing for many, many years, two things are likely to happen: burnout or an overuse injury. I am here to talk about something called Cross-Training, which can positively impact your performance and health!
WHAT IS CROSS TRAINING?
Cross Training can be defined as a variety of exercise modes to develop a specific component of fitness (Matthews, 2009). The great thing about Cross Training is that you can still maintain or increase your level of fitness while changing up the
WHAT ARE SOME BENEFITS OF CROSS TRAINING?
- Reduces the risk of injury
- Rehabilitates injury – you can continue to train while injured
- Rejuvenates the mind and body
- Reduces exercise boredom (hello, that’s me!)
- Enhances motivation
- Allows you to be flexible with your training needs and plans (too hot outside? Try going for a swim or bike indoors instead).
- Improves fitness level
To elaborate a bit more, Cross Training not only assists in developing a specific component of fitness, but it also adds variety and enjoyment to your workouts (Heyward, 2010). I for one can get a little restless completing the same exercises or routine over and over again. Therefore, I am always incorporating different exercises that will work toward the same results within the same fitness component. I call that a win-win!
As mentioned in the bullet points, Cross Training aids in injury prevention. While there are multiple potential causes of an injury, one major factor can be due to overuse of a particular body part. As you can imagine, if you are consistently doing the same motion over and over, it can lead to an overuse injury. When this type of injury does develop, Cross Training can come to the rescue! Cross Training can assist in maintaining your fitness level and get you back to ‘normal’ as soon as possible.
Furthermore, Cross Training is a wonderful benefit for those who may have become injured along the way. For example, runners typically run in a linear movement. By completing aerobic activities of different modes, you are allowing your body to continue to increase your cardiorespiratory fitness while giving those specific muscles, ligaments, and joints a bit of a ‘break’, potentially decreasing your risk of overuse injuries. It is also important to ensure you train laterally seeing as you are consistently only training linearly. While we know your muscles are conditioned to complete whatever activity you have been doing, working a different plane of motion can help decrease your risk of injury as well
You can also become injured by not providing your body with adequate recovery between workouts. As mentioned earlier, human beings are creatures of habit; we like our routines. However, being aware of our body’s needs is very important. One should always factor in a rest day in order to keep our bodies well-oiled and running smoothly.
SOUNDS LIKE A SOLID MOVE. HOW DO I BEGIN?
So long as you can approximate your intensity during your normal mode of choice, you should be able to maintain your conditioning through other activities that are similar in intensity, duration, and structure. Some examples of
TAKE HOME MESSAGE?
Try different things!! Be sure to listen to your body (wow, that sounds familiar) if you feel that your joints are beginning to ‘act up’. There are multiple modes of exercise to help reach your ultimate goal. If you find that you may need a little assistance in programming, remember we have a stellar Personal Training crew that can help get you there. One last thing to consider is a well-rounded program. Lifting weights can be very beneficial to aerobically trained individuals and vice-versa. I would dive a bit deeper into that last sentence, but this sounds like a great topic for a future blog post. Stay tuned!
Fitzgerald, M. (2004). Eight Benefits Of Cross-Training. Retrieved from https://www.runnersworld.com/training/a20813186/eight-benefits-of-cross-training/
Heyward, V. H. (2010). Designing Cardio Respiratory Exercise Programs. In Advanced Fitness Assessment and Exercise Prescription (6th ed.). Burgess Publishing Company.
Matthews, J. (2009). What is cross training and why is it important? Retrieved from https://www.acefitness.org/education-and-resources/lifestyle/blog/36/what-is-cross-training-and-why-is-it-important
Quinn, E. (2019). Varying Your Workouts With Cross Training to Improve Performance. Retrieved from https://www.verywellfit.com/cross-training-improves-fitness-and-reduces-injury-3120769
This blog post was written to provide educational information only. This article should not be used as a substitute or a replacement for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have questions or concerns about your personal health, you should always consult with your physician. It is recommended that you consult with your physician or health care professional before beginning any fitness regimen to determine if it is suitable for your needs. The use of any information provided by this article is solely at your risk.