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Updated February 26, 2009

Definition: Cross-training is a technique that involves using different types of exercise to provide variety, train for sports and/or reduce the risk of repetitive injuries.

If you gravitate towards certain activities, like running or the elliptical trainer, it's a great idea to cross-train with different activities. Not only do you use your muscles in a different way, which is refreshing for your body, you also keep your mind engaged. Some tips for cross-training:

  • Change your impact. If you usually do no-impact exercises like stationary cycling or swimming, try walking or running to add a little impact to your workouts. With higher impact exercises, you can get your heart rate up faster and build strong bones.
  • Try new activities. Another way to cross-train is to incorporate exercises that are completely different than what you're doing. If you're into cardio, try adding a short yoga routine to the mix. If you're a hard-core lifter, try a little more cardio now and then. Trying something new can get you out of a rut.

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