If you’re looking for a new fitness mantra for your weekly workouts, you may want to consider “cross-training.”

A term with its roots in the athletic world, cross-training stems from the idea that training in a sport different from the one in which you already compete can actually enhance your overall skill and boost your performance.

While you may not be looking to enter the Olympics anytime soon, this notion of cross-training could still benefit your health and wellbeing in more ways than you know.

Benefits of Cross-Training?

In addition to being fun and refreshing, cross-training for seniors also offers:

Workout variety

Avoid falling into a workout rut by adding a little variety to the physical activities you do each week. If a daily walk is your go-to mode of exercise, try committing one day instead to light weightlifting, cycling, or resistance band training instead.

Incorporating different physical activities will keep your workouts interesting, exciting and more challenging.

Different muscle engagement

Is your fitness routine sufficiently engaging all your muscle groups equally? Chances are that one group, like your legs, get the brunt of a workout, while your arms, back, or core fall by the wayside.

Cross-training allows you to target a wider range of muscle groups and correct imbalances that may have occurred over the years.

Joint relief

Age-related wear and tear are often most notable in your joints. Cartilage that wears down over time is especially noticeable in the knees as you age.

Cross-training with low-impact activities like yoga and swimming can give your joints a break while still promoting flexibility, strength, and healthy weight management.

Injury prevention

You may be surprised to learn just how many “injuries” actually result from the repeated overuse of the body doing the same movements over and over for years.

Tendonitis (like tennis elbow) and IT band syndrome, for example, are often caused by repetitive activities. Cross-training reshapes your fitness routine to help you avoid the same repetitive activities and movements that can contribute to injury.

Rehabilitation

If you are recovering from an injury that has side-lined your usual sport or go-to workout regimen, cross-training provides an array of exercises that allow you to keep moving and rehabilitating while you heal.

Cross-Training Activities for Seniors

If you have been a runner your whole life or fell in love with weightlifting years ago, you may want to consider cross-training with activities like:

  • Yoga
  • Tai chi
  • Pilates
  • Hiking
  • Swimming
  • Dancing
  • Cycling
  • High-intensity interval training (HIIT)
  • Tennis
  • Bouldering
  • Rowing
  • Cross-country skiing
  • Body weight training

Tips for Cross-Training

When it comes to molding all your ideas and desires into a cross-training schedule that makes sense for your time and ability levels, planning ahead is a must.

Experts even say to go as far as to schedule out your 3 to 5 days of physical activity each week with notes on which activities you’ll do on which days.

For example, you may fill Monday with a yoga session and a hike. Tuesday you can work out to bicycling and body weight exercises. Wednesday you may attempt jogging or HIIT.

You can finish out the week with rowing, walking, and resistance band training. Or you can stick with your normal workout 4 days a week and switch up the 5th day with a new and different activity each week.

Experts recommend tracking your progress and making it a social affair by getting friends to join in on the fun. A workout partner isn’t just great company and motivation, but they can bring different fitness perspectives and exercise ideas to the table.

What if you and a friend alternate coming up with a surprise fitness activity to do one day a week as part of your cross-training journey? You never know what adventures you will get up to and what new physical feats you’ll accomplish!

What kind of cross-training regime do you incorporate into your life? What are your favorite workout activities? Please share with the community so we can all benefit!

Jessica HeggJessica Hegg is the content manager at ViveHealth.com. Avid gym-rat and nutrition enthusiast, she’s interested in all things related to staying active and living a healthy lifestyle. Through her writing, she works to share valuable information aimed at overcoming obstacles and improving the quality of life for others. You can find her on Twitter @Jessica_Hegg.

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