Why Cross Training Is Important To Your Overall Health

Welcome to Faithful Workouts! Our mission is to provide a supportive faith-based fitness community and offer resources that bring health to your body and soul so you can live life to the fullest. We offer workout videos that use upbeat Christian music and inspirational messages as well as healthy recipes and Bible reading plans. We are so grateful to have you here!

I have a deep passion for seeing people grow stronger physically and spiritually. It bums me out because I often hear people who are working out but not seeing the results they want. "I've been working out but I am not noticing a difference!"  I can definitely understand the frustration of putting in the work, committing to exercise but failing to see results. Here is the honest truth; it's often because they are in a fitness rut doing the same exercise and movements day after day.

When we do the same exercises over and over, our bodies get very good at those movements and therefore are not challenged to become fitter and stronger. Think about it like this, when we first learned to ride a bike, we had to think about our movements and train our body to balance the bike while working our feet to pedal. We were teaching our body to engage certain muscles but once we mastered riding a bike, our body does it almost effortlessly. The same principle applies to exercise. Over time our body gets used to the same movements without being pushed or challenged with new movements.

Most people are aware of the many benefits of exercise, for our physical, emotional and brain health. This knowledge often motivates people to get started on an exercise routine but when they don't see the results they get frustrated and often quit. The reason they aren't experiencing some of the benefits of exercise is because they aren't challenging their body. Every day they get on the treadmill and go at the same pace.  Cross-training, or mixing up your workout routine, will help you to reach your goals!

Cross-training is the practice of changing exercise or mixing it up with different exercise activities encouraging the body to adapt to new movements and therefore improve overall strength. The American Council on Exercise defines cross-training as an exercise regimen using several types of training to improve overall health and fitness. We often think of "confusion" as a negative but muscle confusion is actually a good thing. Changing the type of exercise, the pace, the weights.... all of these changes keep your muscles guessing and makes them work harder!

Benefits Of Cross-Training

1. Beat Boredom. No one likes to be bored and there is nothing worse than a boring exercise routine. By mixing it up, you stay engaged in your workouts, stay motivated to stick with exercising and because you are challenging other areas of your body you will not only see the results you want, but you will see them faster. Talk about a win/win!

2. Better For Brain Health. Just like your body needs variation so does your brain. For example, the area of your brain to ride a bike is different from the one needed to target certain muscles while lifting weights. By mixing up your workouts you are not only challenging your body physically but also mentally.

3. Prevent Injury. Anytime one type of exercise is repeated over and over there is a good possibility of increasing your chances for injury especially when weight-bearing or high impact exercise is concerned. Repeated similar exercise puts muscles, joints and bones under stress leading to a higher risk of sprains and strains. You can love your cardio workouts but by adding strength training keeps your body in better alignment. Maybe you love to bike but you are using your quads and hamstrings. You also need to strengthen your inner and outer thigh muscles to keep your knees in proper alignment which requires different exercises than biking. We decrease our risk of muscle imbalance when we cross train!

4. Condition Entire Body.  A well-rounded workout program should include cardio, strength, core, balance and flexibility in order to get more from the time you spend exercising. By doing only one type of exercise you are only working a certain group of muscles instead of working to strengthen your body as a whole.

5. Increase Metabolism. If you are feeling like your exercise routine is in a rut chances are so is your metabolism. Cross-training changes how your body burns calories. By mixing it up to add strength training to cardio, you are building more muscle which requires more energy, which burns more calories thus increasing your metabolism.

6. Stay Consistent. By choosing one style of exercise, you can limit your chances of consistency. If you are only a runner or biker and there is bad weather that prevents you from getting outside, you are more likely to skip working out instead of having a variety of exercises to stay on track.

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