There’s no doubt about it—humans are creatures of habit. We order the same coffee every day, we take the same route to work every day, and we do the same workout every day.
Whether you’re a runner, a yogi, or a cycling enthusiast, one thing’s for sure: you’ve found your favorite type of exercise.
Of course, finding your dream workout is an awesome thing. Without an exercise routine that you enjoy, it’s hard to maintain a lifelong fitness habit.
Unfortunately, there are some downsides to a fitness routine that includes only one type of exercise—especially if your go-to form of exercise is repetitive and cardio-based.
Does this mean that you have to ditch your fave workout? Not at all. But if you want to stay healthy, balanced, and injury-free, it’s time to start cross-training at least once a week.
Here are four reasons to include more than one type of exercise in your fitness routine.
CROSS-TRAIN TO PREVENT OVERUSE INJURIES
Practicing the same type of exercise every day can lead overuse injuries. If you favor a more repetitive form of exercise (such as running), you’re especially prone to these injuries that are caused by performing the same muscle movements over and over again.
Unvaried exercise can also lead to muscle imbalance, muscle strain, and fitness plateaus, so, if you practice a repetitive cardio routine, start mixing up your workouts. Add strength training or conditioning workouts once a week to strengthen a new set of muscles and prevent injuries.
CROSS-TRAIN TO IMPROVE YOUR OVERALL HEALTH AND FITNESS
Different types of exercise engage different combinations of muscles...so, if you aren’t mixing up your fitness routine, you might be neglecting entire muscle groups. Also, if your go-to workout is cardio-heavy, you might have a strong cardiovascular system (awesome!) at the expense of your joints or large muscle groups (not so awesome!).
Intentional cross-training helps ensure that all of your muscle groups are engaged, leaving you better able to handle a variety of physical challenges. And cross-training in a different style of workout (cardio vs. strength training) will lead to more balanced physical health.
CROSS-TRAIN TO JUMPSTART FAT-BURNING AND MUSCLE GROWTH
Our bodies are remarkably adaptable. While this miraculous adaptability allows us to survive and thrive in a variety of environments, it also means that our bodies quickly adapt to our exercise routines.
So, if you complete the same standard workout every day, your body will eventually “figure it out,” and you’ll hit a fitness and weight loss plateau. Bummer.
Cross-training is a great way to reset your body and take your results to the next level by practicing a variety of challenging workouts. Whether you’re looking to slim down, bulk up, or get off your current fitness plateau, cross-training is a the best way to break out of your current routine and re-energize your results!
CROSS-TRAIN TO STAY MOTIVATED AND ENGAGED
Have you ever listened to your favorite song over and over again...until you couldn’t stand it? Yeah? Been there, done that.
The same thing can happen with your fitness routine, even if you’re currently loving your workout regimen. If all you do is run, or cycle, or swim, you’re bound to get bored at some point (and maybe even hit a plateau).
Changing up your exercise practice will ensure that you and your body have fresh challenges every week—and a fresh chance to fall in love with a new type of exercise.
So, here’s the deal. We’re not asking you to break up with your favorite exercise. But, you should consider adding one cross-training session every week to keep your body balanced, healthy, and injury-free.
Cross-training is especially important if you’re practicing a cardio-based, repetitive form of exercise (looking at you, treadmill junkies). To protect your joints and strengthen your muscles, you might want to complete a strength-training session or conditioning class once a week.
Some types of exercise, such as CrossFit, involve both strength-training and cardio, while also engaging various muscle groups through different movements. If you practice this type of holistic, you might not need to incorporate cross-training as regularly. However, you may want to take a barre or yoga class every so often to keep your muscles long and loose.
Most importantly, pay attention to your body—what feels good, what doesn’t feel good, and what needs to change.