“If you are looking for an exercise regimen you can stick to, you may find more success if it is designed around the basic theory of cross training,” says Karen Turner-Schlegel, Physical Therapist. Karen owns her practice in Encinitas where Physical Therapy and Pilates are blended for total wellness, “I see many clients experience success when they mix up their workouts and avoid being bored.”
The reason: Cross training makes workouts more agreeable to both the Body and the Mind.
“While it may sound like a regimen that’s more extreme or for someone who’s already fit, cross training is nothing more than doing a variety of activities that challenge your body in different ways,” says Karen. “This cuts back on the wear and tear on your body and can prevent the onset of overuse injuries. But from a mental standpoint, it also makes working out more interesting and fun.”
According to Karen, planning workouts with variety – daily changes in movement, intensity, focus and resistance – reduces the risk of imbalances in strength and flexibility, breakdowns in muscles and joints, and overuse injuries. This allows a person to stick with a workout routine longer and with less down time.
“If you want your workouts to get boring very quickly, do the same workout each and every day,” Karen said. “You’ll find you’ll start lacking the daily motivation to work out, making it easier for your health goals to go by the wayside.”
Such is often the phenomenon behind New Year’s Resolutions, many of which have fizzled by this point in the year. According to a 2012 study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology, 64 percent of those who make resolutions, such as those related to exercise and weight loss, continue successfully through January–Just 8 percent make it through the end of the year.
To help counter numbers such as these, Karen offers the following suggestions for incorporating cross training into your regular workout regimen:
Work Different Body Parts: Go into each workout by focusing on a single part or area of the body – for example, hips and legs one day, arms and shoulders the next. Offset these days with cardio and perhaps fitness classes.
Take Exercise Classes: If you’re a member of a gym or athletic club, test your limits and explore your options by trying out a variety of exercise classes offered at the facility (e.g. Yoga, Spin Zumba, etc.).
Make it Competitive: Competition strengthens our desire to work out and motivates us to push ourselves harder. So embrace competition, even if you’re simply competing with yourself. Keep a workout journal to track progress or wear an exercise tracking device during your workouts.
Take it Outside: It’s good to join a gym, but also get outside once in a while. Breathe some fresh air, get out of the gym and try something new. Getting off the machines at the gym allows you to use your own balance and body weight for exercise. Take advantage of the San Diego sunshine!
Keep It Simple: Don’t overcomplicate your workout. If you try to do too much at once, or set your goals to high, the chance of failure increases. Set attainable goals, then re-evaluate yourself and set new challenges as you progress.
To learn more about establishing a cross training routine that specifically addresses your needs and fitness goals, contact Karen Turner-Schlegel Physical Therapy & Pilates to schedule an assessment (760) 456-7191 or Karen@ktphysicaltherapy.com