‘Cross-training’ is typically defined as an exercise regimen that uses several modes of training to develop a specific component of fitness. Instead of jogging three days a week to get an aerobic workout, you alternate jogging with swimming, biking as well as tennis. Rather than using the same weight machines every time you go to the gym, you vary it with some free weight exercises or attending a class where you work on strength conditioning.
Cross-training is a great way to put together a balanced fitness programme. Varying your workout routines engages different muscle groups. This not only enhances your overall fitness but it helps to prevent overuse injuries that are more common in single-sport activities.
Benefits of Cross-training
The following are loads of benefits which cross-training offers:
- Reduced risk of injury. By spreading the growing level of orthopaedic stress over additional muscles and joints, individuals can exercise more frequently as well as for longer durations without excessively overloading particularly vulnerable areas of the body such as knees, hips, back, shoulders, elbows in addition to feet. People who are particularly susceptible to lower-leg problems from running long distances should consider incorporating low-impact activities such as the elliptical machine.
- Enhanced weight loss. People who want to lose weight and body fat should engage in an exercise programme that enables them to burn a significant number of calories safely. Research has indicated that such a goal, in most instances, is best accomplished when individuals exercise for relatively long durations, in other worlds more than 30 minutes at a moderate level of intensity, in other words, 60% to 85% of maximal heart rate. People who are overweight can effectively achieve a reduction in body weight as well as fat stores by putting together two or more physical activities in a cross-training exercise plan. They can, for instance, exercise on an elliptical trainer for between 20 and 30 minutes, and then cycle for an extra 20 to 30 minutes.
- Improved total fitness. Cross-training can include activities that develop muscular fitness as well as aerobic conditioning while a person’s muscular fitness gains will usually be less than if he or she concentrates only on strength training the additional benefits of improving muscular strength as well as endurance can allow the person to reap substantial dividends. For example, research has indicated that resistance training can help individuals prevent injury, regulate body weight as well as increase functional capacity.
- Enhanced exercise adherence. Research regarding exercise adherence indicates that many individuals drop out of exercise programmes because they come bored or, alternatively, injured. Cross-training is a safe and relatively easy way to add variety to an exercise programme. In the process, it can be a positive role in promoting long-term exercise adherence through the process of reducing the incidence of injury as well as eliminating or diminishing the potential for boredom.
Before beginning a new exercise programme, talk to your doctor and make sure that it is safe for you to participate in. Some activities are not suitable for people with certain physical limitations.
Effective fitness programme
All effective fitness programmes have three components:
- Aerobic exercises (for example, stair climbing, walking, skating) which improve cardiovascular capabilities.
- Strength training (for example weight lifting, push-ups)helps to develop muscle strength and tone
- Flexibility exercises (such as stretches and Yoga) help to keep muscles limber.
To reap the most benefit from physical activity, you should do at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise on most days. You can split the 30 minutes of activity into shorter periods as long as it adds up during the course of the day.
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