Cross training is the practice of engaging in two or more types of exercise or sports to improve your overall performance.

Cross training has many benefits and can be done at varying intensities with a wide variety of exercises. You could vary your exercises within a workout or do a different type of exercise each day.

For example, on Monday you could bike, Tuesday you could lift weights, Wednesday you could swim, Thursday take a boot camp class, and Friday jog. Another option would be to vary these things within a workout. Take a 60-minute workout and break it into 15 minute sections and do four different types of exercise like weight training, jogging, core work, and biking.

There are advantages to cross training that many may not know. This type of exercise usually hits more muscles in your body than your regular routine because there is a greater variation in your movements.

It also helps prepare your body for unexpected or unusual movements for tasks you may have come up in life like helping a friend move or working under your car.

Another great thing about cross training is you pick which exercises you incorporate so you also get to pick which muscles you train. Cross training also spreads the stress throughout your body by varying your movements.

This reduces the risk of injury and overtraining specific muscles. The variation of exercise also allows you to exercise longer which allows you to burn more calories and lose more weight.

A lot of folks don’t like cardio but varying it between swimming, cycling, running, or rowing could help you from falling off the cardio bandwagon.

Cross training events like Triathlons can be great motivation and goal setting tools to help keep you exercising.

Triathlons are typically a race involving multiple stages including swimming, cycling, and running. Training for a triathlon can be great for your cardiovascular system as well as weight loss.

Another great thing about triathlons is that they are held everywhere and they are readily available across Kansas. These local races are usually for charity so you can get yourself healthy and contribute to a great cause all at once.

The United Way of McPherson County is hosting a triathlon right here in town on Aug. 19. You can go on their website to register.

You can go it alone or get some friends together and each take a leg of the race as a team. Consult your healthcare provider to ensure your body is safe for exercise before starting any exercise program.

Tyler Glidden is the wellness director for the McPherson Family YMCA. He has a bachelor’s degree in Health Promotion and Wellness and a master’s degree in Exercise Science.