This week on the blog, Aaron De Jong, local Personal Trainer and owner of Flourish Wellness, brings cross training into the spotlight with the what, the why and the how to make it work for you.
Two words: cross training. For some reason, they're two words that are daunting and unknown. After their being mentioned, the flurry of questions and comments follows: “Does that mean I have to do CrossFit?” “I don’t want to get to bulky.” “I don’t want to pay for a trainer.” “The gym sucks.”
All concerns aside, cross training isn't so scary. It can allow you to tone your body and enjoy new activities without taking up more time in your week. You don’t (and won’t) need to spend massive amounts of cash and, yes, the gym can become fun.
If you need some convincing, let me explain what cross training is, some benefits and a couple helpful options to make it work for you.
Cross training is very simple. It's incorporating exercise(s) into your life that will challenge and work relatively unused muscle groups, improving muscle function and performance on a cross-functional basis. Cross training takes into consideration the fact that many muscles in different parts of the body contribute to a single activity. To get the most out of any activity and to do it safely, you must pay attention to all the muscles in your body that are involved in what you’re doing.
No, you don't need to ‘hit the gym’; it’s simpler than that. For example, a cardio-heavy exerciser can substitute one run a week for another activity. Instead of running four times a week on the same route, they can change up their route or substitute one run with a swim or a bike ride. It's really all about variety.
We have so many muscle groups in our body and they work best when working together. Muscular and musculoskeletal injuries are often caused by overuse. Sore knees, hips, ankles and backs can often be attributed to loading without adequate muscle tissue supporting and absorbing repeated loading patterns.
Now, the benefits:
- Reduce exercise boredom
- Reduce injury risk
- Learn new movements and activities
- Gain confidence
- Burn more fat due to added working muscle tissue
- Improved energy
- Ability to exercise different groups on consecutive days
- Connect with new or familiar faces all while trying new activities
- and.....it is exciting!
How can you make it work for you? Try different cardiovascular exercises, strength training routines, flexibility activities, circuit classes or agility drills. And remember: while there is a lot of information and misinformation pertaining to exercise available, always listen to your body and find activities you like to do. There is absolutely no denying how you can feel in your body when it is properly balanced and you are able to do any of the physical activities you desire!
The reality is, we all need this to be a part of a successful long term exercise routine. For continued discussion, questions or comments or if you are looking for a fitness consult, don’t hesitate to contact me.