Our bodies adapt to whatever stimulus we give them. If you spend all day sitting at a desk, your mobility, joint health and general fitness will decrease.
Functional fitness is an absolute hero when it comes to undoing the damage of day-to-day downtime. Blending a variety of exercises and sports can take you to new heights with your training.
That’s the goal of cross-training. You can define it by the action of engaging in two or more types of exercises to improve fitness or performance. Basically, mix-match different types of workouts in your training.
Whether you’re gearing up for a triathlon or trying to escape a performance plateau, this mix-and-match workout style offers tonnes of benefits.
Working out in a number of different ways boosts your endurance without wearing down the joints or overusing certain muscles and connective tissues repetitively.
It’s the perfect way to develop strength and mobility if you’re just getting into running, for example, which can impact these vulnerable parts due to the harsh impact of the exercise. If you’re a more experienced runner, using more low-impact exercises as active recovery lets you train more consistently and ultimately, makes you better equipped to run.
Make the same repetitive movements day in and day out and you’ll soon start to rely on specific areas of your body to compensate for weaker parts. One of the best benefits of cross-training is that it removes any muscle imbalances by working on all areas of the body. For example, muscles you target in swimming might not be the same as you use climbing. Similarly, positions you maintain in yoga can impact flexibility in ways climbing can’t.
Mental clarity is one of the most underrated benefits of cross-training. You dictate the workouts you feel like: if you don’t fancy a sweaty solo run, you can join a yoga class for a recharging, social session. If you’re feeling particularly stressed out after a day at the office, you might want to get it all out with an intense HIIT class. Whether you want to release or relaxation, your mood can dictate the movements you need. Not only are you clocking up the wide range of benefits from a multitude of different exercises, but you’re also learning lots of different new skills that stimulate your mind.
Certain exercises complement others. Naturally, you need to focus on your specific training. But it’s easy to get so wrapped up in it that you end up with weak points. If you’re a serious athlete within a certain sport, cross-training can improve your all-round fitness. The same thing if you’re a cyclist and struggle going uphill, build your quad strength on the ski slopes. If you’re a boxer who wants to progress with bodyweight exercises, practise yoga. Maybe your shoulders are hurting after a basketball game? Try perfecting the gymnastic rings in your local club.
No matter how much you love running or swimming or climbing, mixing up exercises is the key to maintaining your mojo. Variety is the spice of life. Cross-training can boost your motivation, providing different kinds of workout that stimulate your mind and body. EVO is all about exercise that doesn’t feel like exercise at all and trying out a range of activities can be an ideal way to prevent monotony setting in. Read more about our unique, playful and natural approach to fitness and see what makes EVO different here.