Cross training is commonly defined as athletes participating in a multitude of different activities to increase overall sports performance. For example, a runner may also mix swimming, tennis, and strength workouts into their routine to keep things fresh and interesting, as well as challenging to many different muscle groups.
Cross training is vital to fitness success. It helps immensely with toning and strengthening different parts of the body and greatly reduces the risk of injures, not to mention mental burnout and frustration. The best fitness results come from constantly challenging our bodies; cross training can diminish the problem of plateaus in weight loss and building muscle by constantly changing what parts of the body are being worked. Cross training also lends flexibility to your workouts – say you get stuck at work, and it’s too dark to go for a run when you get home. Mix up your routine and complete an hour of yoga, instead!
Even if you're in good shape, if you start training too often the bones and connective tissue in your body are unprepared to handle all of the impact. Our bodies adapt very slowly to stress, and injuries occur more often from exercising too frequently than from exercising too hard. If you're trying to start a fitness program, increase your muscular and cardiovascular healthy, or coming to the realization that too much running is causing stress injuries to your knees, then cross training may be an effective solution.
Remember, you should carefully manage the frequency of your activity. When done in moderation, mixing up fitness activities such as running, swimming, cycling, and a little strength training can lead to higher overall fitness without the same muscle groups and joints being overused and injured.
Once you understand the process of exercise, it’ll become a welcome part of your day. We have to keep mixing our routines and trying new workouts. This challenges both the mind and the body, guarding against boredom or becoming too comfortable with a particular routine.
A great example of cross training is the P90X workout routine. P90X is a great mix of cardio, strength training, and yoga that tones and strengthens your entire body and adds an aerobic element as well.