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  • Caroline

The benefits of cross-training

Do you cross-train or do you prefer to stick to the same exercise week after week?

Some of you are past the 6-9 months postnatal phase where you are possibly feeling stronger and are perhaps returning to your previous exercise regime. It therefore makes sense to take a closer look at how you are combining various forms of exercise to get stronger, fitter and staying pain-free.

I feel passionate about this topic as I've been talking to more and more people of late who are not getting the results they want or stay injured/in pain. Whether or not this is you, get ahead of the game and start training smarter now to prevent this from happening in the future!

Earlier this week I ran into an acquaintance who keeps getting tight hip flexors and pain due to a lot of cycling. When I last saw him three months ago, I had advised him to release muscles around the hips (the TFL in particular often gets tight) and then work on strengthening his smaller gluteal muscles through Pilates. He hadn't taken me up on my advice and he's still in the same situation. But if you want a different output you've got to change the input!

The key to cross-training is to find the right balance of cardio (to get that heart rate up), strength (to prevent osteoporosis) and mobility/flexibility (to improve posture, alignment during exercise and to reduce the risk of injuries). Below are a few ideas and feel free to ask me for other combinations. Whatever you choose to do, make sure you enjoy it as then you’re more likely to stick to it!

**Doing lots of long-distance running?** Build in some quick intervals, do hill sprints (this also has less impact on your body while getting you fitter faster) or combine shorter bursts of running with exercise stations (best done outdoors) where you do eg squats and push-ups

**Into gymnastics?** Incorporate some Pilates to gain control of the full range of movement around your joints rather than relying on flexibility and momentum in order to reduce the risk of injury

**Lifting heavy weights?** Combine it with yoga to stretch and lengthen the muscles to avoid muscle tightness and to speed up recovery between sessions

Happy sunny Sunday!

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