Home' Central Canterbury News : March 20th 2013 Contents 6 CENTRAL CANTERBURY NEWS, MARCH 20, 2013
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Mix exercise to reap benefits
Cross training: The idea is to vary your forms of exercise rather than stick with
Cross-fit: Usually done in a group fitness
environment, and is a great adjunct to cross
Exercise favourites: There are many ways to
vary your exercise, even though there may be
one form you most enjoy.
By RACHAEL RICKARD,
Mountain Gym & studioFIT
Have a flick through any fitness
magazine or website and before too
long you'll see the phrase ''cross-
training''. Don't be put off if this
seems a bit too sport-billy for you.
Cross-training, essentially doing a
variety of sports and activities, can
improve your fitness and benefit
your exercise regime for good.
What is cross-training?
Cross-training is simply doing a
variety of different exercises, sports
or activities. Instead of focusing on,
say, running three times a week, you
might run once a week, work out on
a rowing machine once a week and
do yoga or perhaps a session of
weights. For the casual sports
person it doesn't really matter which
exercise you do, but serious athletes
will use a tried and tested selection
of activities designed to build
strength, stamina, power and speed.
Is cross-training the same as
No. Although cross-training and
cross-fit work along similar
principles of varying the workouts
that you do, cross-fit is a very
specific set of functional fitness
exercises and activities, generally
done in a group fitness
environment. Getting involved in
cross-fit classes will add to your
What are the advantages of
Variety is the spice of life and as
such it is much easier to sustain an
exercise regime if you are training
using a variety of activities. You will
be more mentally stimulated by the
challenge of trying new things.
When you repeat an activity or
pattern of exercise your body (and
series of muscles that you use) very
quickly becomes accustomed to the
same old routine, and to firing in a
certain way. If we challenge
ourselves by not allowing the body
to settle into patterns, you will burn
more calories, remain more alert and
retain or gain more fitness. Also,
because you will be using whole
different groups of muscles, you will
have a balanced physique -- instead
of rock-hard leg muscles and weak,
saggy arm muscles!
What if I only like one activity?
Everyone has their favourites
when it comes to exercise, and there
are a few tricks, even if you love just
one sport. If you like running, for
example, then vary the pace or place
of your run. For example, run at
7kmh for two minutes before
running at 10kmh for another two.
Keep alternating between the two
speeds -- this is known as interval
training. As you get fitter you can up
the speeds, and if you want to build
distance then slow the pace to run
longer. On the weekend add in
some extra gradients for hill training,
or include a fast walk.
If you are a beginner to exercise,
you may feel that you lack in
confidence to go outside your
comfort zone to do activities that
you feel may make you look foolish
or unco-ordinated. Build up your
confidence by doing your favourite
activity for a while -- once you've got
used to going to the gym, running
in the street or doing those yoga
poses, you'll feel more comfortable
in expanding your horizons and
maybe trying pilates, cycling, lifting
weights or another sport. Recruiting
a workout buddy can also help to
alleviate a lack of confidence.
Get out and mix it up.
If you are new to exercise, have a
health problem, or take regular
medication, consult with your
doctor before starting an exercise
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