Too often our drive to improve ourselves grows fixated on one endeavor. We seek to master one pursuit, whether it be weight training or cycling, and pour over all the information and advice we can find on how to maximize our potential in that field. The rush you can achieve as you notice yourself improving can be incredibly thrilling, and serve as a source of motivation in and of itself. Few of us, however, realize the value of cross training. Through cross training, we can not only better round out our health, but actually improve our primary pursuit as well. How can you go about setting up a cross training schedule, however, and what should of elements should you seek to add?
There are many ways to approach fitness and health, and each is determined by your own particular situation. Age, health, history of injuries, personal preference, available resources, weather – all these can determine what form of exercise you pursue. However, there are universal benefits that certain forms of activities confer on all those who practice them, and those are the ones you should seek to incorporate in your training.
The public is growing increasingly aware of the value of yoga and Pilates. Both of these disciplines are phenomenal at improving your balance, flexibility, core strength, and mental harmony. As we age, these qualities become ever more important, such that everybody should seek to add at least one or two sessions of either yoga or Pilates to their schedule, depending on their preference. Further, they will challenge your muscles in a completely novel way, allowing you to improve whatever sport or other form of training you prefer in wholly unexpected but welcome ways.
For a long time, weight training was seen as the sole province of men like Arnold Schwarzenegger. Luckily the many benefits of resistance training are now accepted as beneficial to everybody, and you can find men and women of all ages and fitness levels working with dumbbells and barbells. Doing so can improve bone density, blood pressure, increase your heart size, increase your strength and change your body composition.
Finally, adding some sort of cardio will perfectly round out your training. If you have access to a swimming pool you should give swimming a try; it’s the perfect form of full body training that has zero impact on your joints and helps improve your health on all fronts. However, you can instead try cycling, running, tennis, or any other form of cardio training that you enjoy.
The benefit to a mixed regimen of training as suggested above is that your body becomes fit and healthy in every way, and not just one. Whether you are a serious cyclist, basketball player, or simply have always done the same aerobics class at the gym, mixing up your training and challenging your body in novel ways will not only help you break through training plateaus, but will also deliver countless ancillary benefits as you test your body in a holistic manner.