You thought you were in shape…
So you can bench a Buick and think you’re strong. One day a friend asks you to train with him on rope climbing and other body resistance exercises. Not only can you barely make it up the rope, you can’t move the next day either!
Or maybe you’re a long-distance runner and one day a friend invited you to swim a few laps in the pool, after which your muscles became sore and you were out of breath. Now you’re asking yourself, “What happened? I thought I was in shape!”
The body is built for cross training
Raw strength doesn’t always equate to fitness. If you’re not used to certain movements and exercises, you’re likely to experience muscle soreness and fatigue that are disproportionate to your exertion. However, the opposite is also the case. Your body becomes extremely efficient when it performs specific movements day in and day out, which is ideal if you’re an athlete looking to embed perfect form, movement, and muscle memory into your neuromuscular system. This is just one reason why regular exercise is far more beneficial to the body than sporadic, infrequent activity.
The downside of doing the same thing over and over again is that your body gets used to your routine and starts to plateau. That’s why cross training is an absolute must! We’re designed to move in a variety of ways, from running, jumping, pushing, rowing, bending, spinning, swimming, etc. By cross-training, which encourages a variety of movements, we keep writing new patterns into our muscle memory. This improves our health and makes us more adaptable and functional, not only as athletes but also as people.
Make workouts work for you
An added benefit of cross training is that it makes it easier for people of all fitness and experience levels to train on a regular basis. It’s easier to get discouraged when you experience pain after sporadic and random activity. You may not want to try again. But if you find a few different things you enjoy and alternate them regularly, you’ll condition your body and find that exercise is not only fun, it’s easier than you thought.
A training partner or personal trainer can help you take responsibility and ensure you’re adding variety to your workouts, diversifying your movements, and maximizing your results. The following are some of the benefits of incorporating a varied fitness program into your lifestyle:
• Reduces the risk of injury
• Produces a higher overall conditioning
• Promotes full body fitness
• Improves speed, strength, endurance, stability, balance, agility and flexibility
• Improves your specific skills
• Improves brain function
• Increases ability to learn and retain information
• Regulates inflammation
• Improves the transmission of signals within cells
• Helps prevent neurodegenerative diseases
Mix it up!
Doing the same thing repeatedly over a long period of time can ultimately lead to injury, boredom, and ill health. So mix it up: one day you can do strength training, another day you can try wind sprints, do some swimming, dance, learn a martial art, do yoga… the key is to find a few things you enjoy , stay with them and become a functioning, healthy person again.
Thanks to Greg Murphy