My husband asked me not too long ago why I felt the need to take ballet, outdoor boot camp and yoga classes when we belong to a perfectly good gym that even offers similar workouts. Well, I go there too, but my answer was: variety is the spice of exercise. I do know lots of women who stick to one form of exercise (walking, swimming, dance, cycling) and never miss a workout, and they're plenty fit. But for me, someone who won't eat the same kind of sandwich every day, I need different workouts to keep me both interested and challenged. And I find that if I work different muscle groups, using weights some days, focusing on cardio others, and using my legs and feet in a completely different way during dance, I end up using my whole body during the course of a week. Does it cost more? Yes, and if you don't want to spend a bundle cross training, you don't have to. When I go on vacation or other trips, I may walk every day as my main workout, but I'll do push-ups and sit-ups in the room or try to use the hotel gym or pool. You can use free weights or exercise bands at home to add to your own cardio workout. And of course, finding someone to exercise with always keeps it interesting, the other reason I take so many classes?
Not only does cross training help with your motivation and adhearance to exercise, but also has many other benefits. Here are just a few: 1) Reduces risk of injury - doing the same workouts over and over stress the body in a repetitive fashion, which can increase the risk for injury. Cross training, uses different muscles, hence reducing that risk 2) Improves overall fitness - the same workouts day in and day out challenge the body in a limited way and can actually cause one to plateau. Cross training, provides increased workout challenges, helping to avoid any workout plateaus. 3) Rejuvenates the mind and body - Cross training integrates a variety of activities into your exercise program which stimulates the mind, helping to reduce boredum 4) Enhances motivation - variety is the spice of life, as the saying goes. Cross training decreases the monotony of single mode workouts and stimulates motivation through the variety it provides