The Benefits of Cross Training

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by Casey McIlvaine

In the pursuit of gaining strength, building endurance and improving our overall health, utilizing every method at your disposal will help you achieve these goals sooner. Too often we become fixated on one endeavor and quickly find ourselves in a rut that can be hard to escape. In fitness you are bound to hit a plateau, however surpassing it can be easy with a planned approach. An effective plan to get you out of a rut or over a plateau is cross training. Cross training is a type of fitness plan that combines several different workout strategies, in order to create one comprehensive training session. We’ve put together a list of the benefits of cross training that will help you understand the value of incorporating it into your workout routine.

Benefit #1 Prevention of Injury

Majority of injuries that happens in the gym are a result of over doing a single activity. Your body can easily become worn down from running, squatting, cutting or jumping. Repetitive movements put a tremendous amount of stress on your joints, ligaments, muscles and tendons, which is why it is important to occasionally give them a break. Cross training allows your over-used parts of your body a chance to rest while strengthen the under-used muscles. This will help you overall become stronger and healthier.

Benefit #2: Enhanced Motivation

Performing the same exercise routine over and over again will eventually become boring, no matter how motivated or driven you are to get fit or stay in shape. One of the main reasons people quit exercising is because of boredom. Cross training prevents monotony and can help maintain your interest in your program while producing results. Adding variety to your fitness program keeps your body and mind fresh and coming back for more. Changing up your fitness routine will boost your motivation and keep you focused.

Benefit #3: Strengthen Balancing Skills

Incorporating balance training in your workout routine will help improve your athletic performance, avoid falls, and minimize injuries. Whether stationary or dynamic, balance skills can improve your agility, coordination, reaction time, speed and power. Cross training with activities like Pilates or yoga will help strengthen your body through balance and flexibility exercises. In addition, adding balance training to your routine will burn a greater amount of calories because it requires more muscles to be engaged. Not only does balance training burn calories, it also help will shape and define the muscles that are engaged from forcing them to put in extra work to keep you from falling.

Benefit #4: Active Recovery

Active recovery is the use of an alternative type of training in order to recover from your primary training method. When returning from a setback or injury, active recovery have been shown to actually speed up recovery by increasing blood flow and delivery of nutrient to the damaged tissue. Although periods of outright rest are at time essential, performing an active recovery workout will help improve your fitness.

 Adding cross training to your fitness routine will help you stay active by choosing a workout that targets unused muscles or body part, while resting over-used muscles. Overall cross training can prevent injuries, increase your motivation, improve your fitness and add enjoyment to your fitness routine. Through cross training, you become well-rounded and improving your overall health and fitness.

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