The many reasons you need variety in your workouts.
Are you a person of habit? You go to the gym at the same time every day, run through a strength training routine, and check your workout off your list. Or maybe you switch things up a little by alternating days you work upper and lower body, but other than that you stick to a similar workout day in and day out.
Getting exercise is vital, but you may be missing out on other parts of fitness if you do the same workout every time you go to the gym. Keep reading to find out what cross-training is and why you should make it part of your routine.
Go for Variety
Someone who does several different types of exercise to reach a specific fitness goal. This could be a football player who wants to increase his strength and endurance so he does weight training, swimming, and sprinting exercises in addition to practicing football. A soccer player may take up cycling to build her aerobic capacity or tennis to improve speed and quickness. For the average person who’s not into sports, however, cross-training is just as important. To do it, you’ll alternate between various workouts throughout the day, week, or month.
Benefits of Variety
Doing the same workout day in and day out can get boring. If you’re not being challenged or learning new skills, it’s easy to become weary of exercise. Burnout is a risk when you no longer enjoy your workouts. Mixing things up with cross-training keeps you interested and engaged in exercise.
Cross-training also lowers your chances of injury. Repetitive use of the same muscles and joints by doing the same movements over and over puts you at risk for overuse injury. By doing various types of workouts you build total body strength instead of creating muscle imbalances that can cause injury.
If done correctly, cross-training allows you a chance to let your muscles rest between workouts. Someone who typically runs for his workouts but takes breaks doing lower impact exercises such as cycling or swimming, lowers the risk of suffering a leg or foot injury.
Reached a plateau in weight loss? You may need to cross-train. Over time, as your body adapts to the same workout and is no longer challenged, your calorie burn slows down. Rev your metabolism and burn more calories by changing things up with a new workout.
You may have thought you were in shape from your spin class until you hiked in the mountains all day. Cross-training is one way to improve your overall fitness. Instead of maintaining your fitness, why not seek to constantly improve? Build muscle, strengthen different muscle groups, improve aerobic endurance, develop new skills, and increase flexibility in multiple areas of the body that may get neglected when you stick to the same workout every day.
With cross-training, you’re more adaptable to change. Raining outside? You can lift weights at the gym. Have an injured arm? You can still ride the stationary bicycle.
So how do you get started with cross-training? It’s best to think of the types of exercises you enjoy or the ones you’d like to learn. Then, add them into your routine. This could mean shortening your strength training session and adding in 10 minutes of elliptical and 10 minutes of the stair step machine at the end of your workout. Or three days a week do your regular run and the other days take up cycling or Yoga. Not sure how to switch things up? Don’t go at it alone. Talk with your personal trainer to cross-train successfully.