If you do repetitive activities over an extended period of time, you have an increased risk of developing an overuse injury and can also lead to muscle imbalances. And as your body adapts to the activity, it will become harder to get results. It does not matter if you are a professional athlete, a runner, a bodybuilder, stay at home mom or even a retiree; you need to cross train. Variety in your training helps prevent fitness plateaus, muscle imbalances and helps you stay motivated with your workouts.
Cross-training should include all the major components of fitness: Cardiovascular fitness and muscle strength, endurance and flexibility. It will enhance your performance and overall fitness without stressing you body to the max, keep you motivated, help you avoid injuries and prevent your workout life from getting stale. Hire a certified personal trainer if you need help to determine your fitness needs. A fitness professional can evaluate your current fitness routine and create a workout routine to offset areas of weakness and to help avoid potential overuse injuries.
For example, if running has been your only activity, your “prescription” for overall better fitness would include strengthening exercises for the pelvis and hips, as well as weight workouts to build the upper body. If you’ve been doing only weight lifting regimens, you’d be well served by adding a cardio workout — like running on the treadmill — to your regimen.
You can concentrate on cardio during one session, strength training and balance in another, and flexibility in still another and then just keep mixing up the combinations so your body has variety and you do not get bored with your routine.
The moral of the story is that cross training can offer you a refreshing physical and mental challenge. So what are you waiting for? Get out there and give something new a try!