We often hear we should have a well-rounded fitness program. But it’s confusing what exactly that means. It seems like a different celebrity is endorsing a new workout every day on Instagram. Boutique fitness studios continue to pop up offering unique classes everyone says you must try. You feel like you ‘should’ do yoga, but all you really want to do is run. Do you need to do it all?
The answer probably won’t surprise you: Yes and no.
There are some elements of fitness everyone should do to be their healthiest. However, that doesn’t mean you need to do everything, and it also doesn’t mean you need to give up what you love. Here’s how you can do it all — on your terms.
The Benefits of Cross-Training
Just as balance is important when it comes to eating, it’s also important when it comes to exercise.
“A well-rounded fitness routine is one that focuses on the various health-related components of fitness: cardiorespiratory endurance, muscular strength, muscular endurance, flexibility and body composition,” explains Jessica Matthews, senior adviser for health and fitness education for the American Council on Exercise. “Research shows that when you do this, you experience health improvements.”
For example, cross-training has been shown to be more efficient than only resistance or aerobic training at reducing body weight, waist circumference and fat mass in overweight and obese adults, according to a study in PLOS One.
And, in a 2015 study, researchers compared 620 women who followed one of four training programs: cross-training, only running, only weight training or no training. They discovered that those who did more than one modality of fitness had greater muscular endurance. The study authors concluded that, “cross-training may be the best option for improving physical fitness when compared to just one mode of fitness training.”