UNC Health Care

Spice Up Your Fitness Routine with Cross Training

Cross training improves fitness and reduces injury

You hit the pavement six days a week, but you’re not seeing the results you’d like or your shins constantly ache.  Maybe you’re bored with your daily spin class.  When you fall victim to mundane and repetitive workout habits, you may be setting yourself up for injury or mental burnout. 

Spice up your workouts by incorporating cross training into your exercise regimen. We spoke to UNC REX group fitness instructor Jenn Foggiano to learn more. 

What is cross training?

It’s a training routine that involves several different forms of exercise. It limits the stress that occurs on a specific muscle group because different activities use muscles in slightly different ways.

Here are some reasons to consider cross training:

  • Injury prevention: Using one set of muscles repeatedly can increase your risk for repetitive injury. It is important to give them a break.  By mixing up your routine, you will give your overused body parts a chance to rest and the under used a chance to strengthen. Try lap swimming or a yoga class in place of your normal cardiovascular exercise.
  • Better overall fitness: By incorporating several different modalities in your fitness routine you can increase your performance and overall fitness.  Try adding a day of core work, some strength training and some different forms of cardio to mix it up.
  • Reduces exercise boredom:  Doing one thing day after day, whether in your daily life, or in this case, your exercise regimen is sure to get old over time.  By incorporating a variety of activities you’ll keep it interesting, keep your body guessing and will be more likely to adhere to a healthy lifestyle.  As the old saying goes, ‘variety is the spice of life’ even when it comes to exercise.   
  • Strength training Some of the benefits of strength training include disease prevention, increased stamina for activities of daily living and an increased resting metabolism just to name a few. So needless to say it is very important to incorporate into your routine.  The American College of Sports Medicine recommends strength training at least two days per week.  So, bring your workout inside and lift!  

Find a fitness center near you. Learn more about REX Wellness Centers and UNC Wellness Centers. 

Editor’s note: This article was originally published on May 13, 2015. It was updated on August 12, 2019.