There are some elements of fitness everyone should do to be their healthiest. However, that doesn’t mean you need to do everything, and it also doesn’t mean you need to give up what you love. Here’s how you can do it all — on your own terms.
THE BENEFITS OF CROSS-TRAINING
Jessica Matthews, senior adviser for health and fitness education for the American Council on Exercise says, “A well-rounded fitness routine is one that focuses on the various health-related components of fitness: cardiorespiratory endurance, muscular strength, muscular endurance, flexibility and body composition.”
And, in a 2015 study, researchers compared 620 women who followed one of four training programs: cross-training, running only, weight training only, or no training. They discovered that those who did more than one modality of fitness had greater muscular endurance. The study authors concluded that, “cross-training may be the best option for improving physical fitness when compared to just one mode of fitness training.”
Getting a variety of workouts keeps you engaged in them. “It keeps you excited about fitness and prevents boredom, plus a well-balanced program keeps you from experiencing overuse injuries and repetitive motion injuries,” says celebrity trainer Kira Stokes, creator of the Stoked Method and Stoked Series workout classes.
FINDING A BALANCE
“Doing activities you enjoy is central to promote lasting behavior change so you do it consistently and long term,” Matthews says. Luckily, there is a way to be balanced and do what you love. “How a well-rounded routine can be applied can vary so vastly,” Matthews explains, “Everything doesn’t have to fit into nice, neat boxes.”
Remember fitness isn’t just black and white. Cardio isn’t only running — it’s also walking and swimming and hiking. Strength isn’t only using barbells — you can use your bodyweight, kettlebells, or a TRX. There is a plethora of ways to get creative with your workouts, and doing so could be so beneficial to getting the results you want.
“The thing you love is like a cozy blanket,” Stokes says. “You shouldn’t stop what truly makes you happy, but you need to step outside your comfort zone and work your body in all planes of motion. Find new activities and new ways to see changes in your physique.”