Active people and athletes are all about cross-training because the variety helps burn extra calories, it keeps workouts from getting boring, and it helps to strengthen your entire body. More important, it's recommended to help prevent injuries caused by repetitive movements or over-use of muscles. Ironically though, injuries can happen when switching up your routine, either because you're new to the activity, you're not paying attention, or because your competitive edge kicks in and you push yourself too hard. So keep these in mind:
- You don't have to work hard all the time. When cross-training, make sure you balance hard workouts with more relaxing, low-impact ones. It'll save you energy and give your body a chance to rest.
- Don't push yourself beyond your limit. You might be able to run a mile in less than six minutes, but flexibility, is just not your thing. If you experiment with yoga and the class is all about intense hamstring stretches, don't force your body to do what it's not trained to do. You could end up tearing a muscle that prevents you from exercising at all.
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- Choose complimentary cross-training activities to stretch the muscles you strengthen and to tone the muscles your normal workouts tend to ignore. If you're an avid cyclist, cross-training by using the stepper machine will still be working your quads and not much else. So explore different types of activities that target all the parts of your body.
- Be aware of the weakness you have. If you're a runner, then your legs may be strong, but your upper body may be lacking. So approach activities that work these weaker muscle groups with ease.