This is the seventh article in my new series called “Your Exercise GPA” and today we discuss cross-training.
In the long term it’s not a good idea to only do one form of exercise. Eventually the repetitive use of the same muscles can lead to injury, usually caused by the relative weakness in the muscles you do not use as often. Of course, some exercises are better than others. For example, swimming uses many different muscles and there is little wear and tear on your joints.
So as you continue to make progress and you increase the amount of time you spend exercising each week, it’s a good idea to do some cross-training. Cross-training is simply a technical term which means that you should do other forms of exercise. So instead of, say, running four or five days a week, you introduce a different form of exercise in place of one or two of your runs.
Exercises such as swimming and biking are great cross-training activities. Other great forms of cross-training you should try if you get a chance are skiing, kayaking, rowing and yoga. You could even consider a triathlon, though that’s another story!
Your Cross-Training GPA
Give yourself the following GPA score:
4.0 – You cross-train twice a week for at least 30 mins in each session
3.0 – You cross-train once a week for at least 30 mins
2.0 – You cross-train occasionally but it is not consistent
1.0 – You never cross-train
Why You Should Improve Your Cross Training GPA
Cross-training activity will provide welcome variety in your workouts and increase the overall enjoyment of your exercise, which should be an important, ongoing objective.
It’s a great way to really promote optimum fitness as you can exercise a little bit harder because while you often use the same muscles, you use them differently.
It also gives you a break, or what you might call an “active rest day” and this helps you recover faster from your strength and higher intensity days.
In the final article/video in the series we will pull all of this together and you will be able to identify your overall Exercise GPA as well as the score for each element and I will wrap up the series with some final tips on how to improve your score.
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Until the final article/video coming shortly, remember my motto:
You don’t have to be fit and healthy to start, but you do have to start to be fit and healthy.
By Jim Kirwan