Cross training has many positive benefits and it’s good to have variety in your regular fitness routine. However, cross training isn’t for everyone. If you’re the type of person who baulks at the thought of structured cross training, try some of these ideas to give you a range of activities without needing to visit the gym.
Okay, this one is a bit obvious however do not underestimate the power of the humble stair! If you work, or live, in a building where there’s the option of taking the stairs then give it a go. Even if you start with one or two flights, and add to this over time. Remember to go down the stairs too. Going up will definitely feel more like a workout, but coming down the stairs uses different muscles that are equally important for strength and control. There really isn’t any time (or outfit) requirement, just a desire to do more exercise, and a bit of determination and commitment to make it happen.
Whether you are hanging your washing on a wire rack inside or making use of your outdoor line on a good day, use your legs to hang your washing. Place your basket on the floor or ground and squat down to pick up each item of washing that you’re hanging. You’ll be amazed how well this uses your thighs and glutes, and also how many items of washing you can fit in your washing machine! Keep a strong core so that you support your back and remember to breathe.
Again, this is a great way to add in some exercise to your day without needing too much gear. Supportive shoes are important so remember to pack them, but otherwise, you’re good to go. Some fresh air and exercise will help you feel more productive for the afternoon, especially if you have a park nearby, as time in nature will help to boost your mood. If you’re after more cardio, take some running gear and turn it into a jog. If your lunch break is more like a sandwich at your desk, then consider getting off the train or tram one stop earlier, or parking the car a few blocks away from where you need to be, so you can have a hit of exercise on your way to work.
If you have the option, why not try a standing desk? Standing requires different muscles to sitting and being on your feet means your body has to fight gravity as well. There are plenty of articles to read on the standing versus sitting debate and most of them list the scary stuff first, linking sitting to increased rates of heart disease and diabetes. These are very good reasons to add extra standing into your day, though what you might immediately notice is that standing helps boost your mood. You might even feel more productive with a different perspective on your work. If you decide to make this change don’t go from sitting for eight hours to standing for eight hours! Rather ease into it slowly and build over time – it’s a big change. A standing desk will also allow you to add in some sneaky stretches when no one is looking!
If you have talents in the kitchen, there are ways to add in some upper body work that is just as effective as bench pressing! Making bread is first on the list, but only if you put the dough hook of your Kitchen Aid to the side. Good old-fashioned kneading is a guaranteed workout for your arms and shoulders. If you’re a glutton for punishment (and delicious desserts), try whipping your cream by hand. This one requires patience and adds a degree of cardio as well – if you’re not convinced, give it a go!
You’ll be surprised how simple it is to add in elements of cross training by modifying some of your everyday habits. It doesn’t have to be a big production and you can easily boost your fitness and strength without a trip to the gym.