Ever wonder if there are other exercises out there that can help you get faster, stronger, and gain endurance? Maybe you wonder if yoga could help release that knot in your calf or cycling might get you into different terrain. The good news is that trying different exercises and making them a consistent part of your training routine will benefit you.
Today we want to focus on cross-training and all of its benefits. Cross-training is implementing other types of workouts into your program in order to focus on muscles that may lack some strength or are overworked. By adding in strength training workouts you can grow muscles in your knees to help the impact of running or focus on your glutes and hips to reduce IT band stress. Not only can strength training help prevent injuries but it can aid you when healing from a current injury. You are able to focus on certain muscle groups when strength training in order to really come back stronger.
On the other side of this, workouts such as yoga or swimming can exercise the body while reducing the stress put on your muscles. Yoga forces you to slow down and take longer moments to stretch your body as well as connect more with areas of your body that may need attention. During mindful practices like yoga, you are not only able to feel tight muscles, but you can connect with your body to find parts that may not be getting utilized or appreciated. On that note, swimming, while an amazing workout, involves rhythmic breathing that activates your parasympathetic nervous system, which is the part of our nervous system that is responsible for rest and relaxation. Incorporating workouts that move your body while helping you feel rested can greatly impact your body on your next run.
The last point to cross-training I want to address and have already hinted at is that it helps you learn your body. When we do a repeated motion, like running, over and over again we are bound to injure ourselves from poor form, lack of strength, or just repeated use. By using other training methods you can hone in on weak areas of your body or potentially discover why that injury from 10 years ago is still popping up. When we learn proper techniques to deadlift or run it will take the strain off our bodies. Of course, injuries will still happen, but that likelihood becomes reduced. So if you were thinking of adding a new workout to your routine, or already do, know that it is an amazing tool to improve your run and aid your body to be its healthiest self.