Cross-training is important because it works different muscles than your ordinary workout. If you stick to one workout all the time, you risk overtraining certain muscles and under training others, which can lead to injuries. Plus, you can get bored doing the same thing over and over.
Walking is less likely to cause injuries because of its low-impact nature, and because it is a great full-body exercise. However, it is still a good idea to mix it up a bit and do something different occasionally.
Here are some fun cross-training activities you can try. Just add one of these activities a week to your exercise regime.
Dancing. Just put on some music and shake your booty for 30 minutes or more. This is great fun to do with your kids, too. Or, teach the dog how to two-step. It’s up to you. The more you move, the better your workout. It doesn’t matter if you do country line-dancing, break-dancing or imitate “Dancing with the Stars”. The important thing is to move your body. Try to work up a sweat, breathe hard and tire yourself out.
Biking. Dust off your bicycle or head for the stationary bike. Biking is great for cross-training because it is not “weight-bearing” and gives your bones and muscles a break while still enabling you to get a good cardio workout. Plus, it’s fun. Another great activity to do with your kids or friends.
Stair-climbing. This is great when you are short on time. You can climb stairs for about half the time you usually walk and get the same calorie burning results. Plus, stairs really work your hamstrings and glutes!
Calisthenics. Good, old-fashioned exercises like jumping jacks, lunges, crunches, push-ups, leg lifts and others can feel really good and you can do them in front of the television.
Lifting Weights or Strength training. You should do this in addition to your walking to help build muscle and strengthen your bones. As we age, it is so important to be strong. Go for a simple routine twice a week. Start slowly with light weights. Hire a trainer to help you, or look below for some resources on learning how to build bones and muscles.
Aerobics classes. You can find one at all gyms and some community centers and churches, or you can get a DVD program. Good to have on hand when you need to change it up a bit. Go for one that is fun and safe; legwarmers optional.
Yoga. Good for you in all sorts of ways. Yoga moves can help build strength and of course, flexibility. But, yoga is also great for relaxing your mind and we all need that these days!
Strong Women Stay Young is an excellent book on why and how to strength train. Supported by real-life examples and so very motivating! Plus, there are easy exercises for beginners and more challenging routines as you get more fit.
And, try these Shoes for Cross-Training. Good for most exercise activities.