Six Ways That Cross Training Boosts Overall Health

Cross training is great for our waistline, but it also delivers health benefits that can boost quality of life for a lifetime.

We know that cross training is good for us—climbing stairs and getting in a few push-ups every day staves off excess weight, helps to cultivate lean muscle, and maintains our balance and flexibility. But the benefits of a regular cross training routine don’t just help us to look good. Research indicates that regular exercise is good for our brain as well as our heart, and can help ward off diseases as we age. Here are six ways that your walking and weight-lifting routine is protecting your health and your quality of life.

  • Maintain your musculoskeletal health. Your skeletal system benefits from healthy bone density and muscular strength. Weight-bearing cardio exercise maintains bone density, while resistance training contributes to joint stability, flexibility, balance, and coordination. Of course, it is possible to get too much of a good thing. An overly aggressive cross training routine or improper form during exercise can cause chronic injury. It’s always a good idea to consult your physician before beginning a new routine.
  • Strengthen your heart. Your cardio routine is the hero here; elevating your heart rate for at least 150 minutes a week reduces your risk of heart and vascular disease by lowering blood pressure, improving your cholesterol profile, and reducing systemic inflammation. Resistance training makes a contribution to your healthy heart too—when you reduce body fat, you also reduce your risk of heart disease.
  • Stave off type 2 diabetes. Cardio and resistance work as a team to reduce risk of type 2 diabetes by increasing insulin sensitivity and preventing the weight gain that contributes to onset of type 2 diabetes.
  • Improve your cognitive health. Evidence indicates that both cardio and resistance training improve memory and can reduce the risk of dementia.
  • Reduced risk of certain cancers. Obesity is a factor related to some types of cancer. Your exercise program can reduce your vulnerability to some cancers, including cancer of the colon, prostate, and breast.
  • Boost your sense of well-being. Exercise is a stress reliever; it improves your energy, eases depression, and can lift your mood.

The next time you grab your exercise gear—or are looking for motivation to jump off the couch, remember that exercise doesn’t just make you look good now; it also helps you to maintain your health for a lifetime.

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