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The Princeton Longevity Center Medical News

Cross-Training – Spice up that Tired Exercise Program

You’re in great shape – or at least you try to be. Your neighbors hear your treadmill turning at all hours of the day and night. When the weather permits – you may even enjoy a weekend jog around the neighborhood or park. So with all this exercise and with being in such great shape, why did your ski trip, or tennis game or even elliptical trainer make parts of your body sore you never knew existed?

One of the great forms of exercise from a functional and aerobic standpoint is the treadmill.   But while walking and jogging on the treadmill has a myriad of benefits (including, heart health, bone density, caloric expenditure, etc), too much with not enough rest between sessions can also be detrimental to your overall fitness goals! 

A cross-training workout plan is just what you need to rev up that tired exercise regimen. Training in different ways will improve overall performance. Cross-training combines multiple aerobic activities and takes advantage of the particular effectiveness of each training method. At the same time, cross-training can address the shortcomings of each activity by combining it with other methods that address its weaknesses.         

Day of Week

Activity

Monday

Treadmill 30m

Tuesday

Circuit Training 45m

Wednesday

Elliptical 55m

Thursday

Treadmill 40m

Friday

Off

Saturday

Bicycle 60m

Sunday

Off

Training in different modalities on alternating days can be very beneficial and work to achieve
maximum fitness. Those who tend to walk and/or jog at the same intensities and volumes time after time, will eventually no longer provide enough stress (good stress) to the aerobic system to increase their aerobic capacity.  Using an elliptical, bicycle, rower, circuit training, or other modes of exercise can provide a new motor pattern and higher aerobic capacity to help overall goals.

Performing the same movements every time you aerobically exercise also presents injury concern.  Using the same muscles in the same way can put the risk of overuse injuries at a much higher level.  Activation of muscles via cross training that are not dominantly used or used in the same way during running can help you maintain a more optimal muscle balance.  Consider the application of injuries such as “runners knee” (iliotibial band friction syndrome) as a good example of why too much running can be harmful to your future gains.

Not only can cross-training help from a no-injury standpoint, there is weight control incentive too.  Our bodies are very adaptable and do their best to become efficient in our everyday activities and movements.  Once we acquire a good running or walking economy, we can actually burn fewer calories at the same relative workload!  Our bodies learn to coordinate muscles better and use them in a more organized fashion.  Trying a new exercise machine or activity that you are not as good at or as trained on, can actually provide more caloric benefit for the workload! 

Aside from the aforementioned benefits of cross-training, this form of varying training has the added benefit of spicing up your aerobic routine.  Trying new exercises, alternating exercises, and training in different ways can help break up a monotonous routine.  There are different benefits to each aerobic machine (Click Here for article “Which Aerobic Exercise is Right for You”), and you can still place an emphasis on one machine over others. So spice it up! And let your body reap the benefits

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