Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Cross-training is important....

1. To prevent boredom. Let’s face it; sometimes you need a little change! By switching up your workout often, hopefully you can keep interesting.

2. To prevent injuries. Because your body is moving in different ways with various types of exercise, so do your joints and muscles. Variation gives certain parts of your body a little rest and; therefore, decreases your risk for injury.

3. To make you a better athlete and make you more fit. Working muscles differently allows you to strengthen your “weakest link”, if you will. Always exercising the same way will only strengthen certain muscles, and only in a particular way. Changing up your routine allows you to challenge your muscles.

4. To possibly get you through a weight-loss plateau. When you exercise in one mode, whether it is running, walking, or riding your bike, your body becomes very efficient at that task. Challenging your body to a different type of exercise may allow you to burn more calories.

5. To find your favorite types of exercise. You never know if you’ll like something until you try it. You may just find out that you like biking better than running. However, you’ll never know if you only run!


  1. Any particular cross-training activities best suited for primary runners (e.g., freeweights vs bike vs swim, etc.)?

  2. Preventing boredom is very important for me. I like to change it up a little.

  3. Busy-Dad-E: Good question. I believe everyone should be doing some kind of strength exercise, and so does the American College of Sports Medicine. As far as cardiovascular exercises to complement running, really it is totally up to you. Any other activity will have its benefits. For instance, swimming might be good for you to give your joints a break from the pounding of running, and help to strengthen your upper body. Biking is great becauses it emphasizes the use of your quads while running emphasizes your hams. It may help to "balance you out" to put it simply. Honestly, the best cross-training is something you enjoy!

    Erin'sMom: I think you hit the nail on the head for most people. For those who haven't found their "love" for exercise, and even those who have, but need a change, cross-training can really help to keep things interesting!

  4. This is an area where I really need improvement. My only problem is finding time to do both. I know that sounds terrible, but it is true. I need to join a gym (with childcare) so I can have access to some stationary bikes or more free weights. That would help!

  5. Statmom: You don't have to put in extra exercise time as long as you are meeting exercise guidelines. You can replace some of your running time with something else. You certainly don't have to cross-train, but there are so many benefits! Strength training is a good idea though!