I love walking. It’s amazing how much of a workout it can give you and yet so many people miss out on it because they drive everywhere. Imagine the extra calories you could burn if you just took the time to walk somewhere everyday. I’ve seen people drive across the street just to pick up their groceries before driving home to sit and watch TV. Stop being lazy and get out there and walk!
I digress, anyway, I was taking a walk one day early in the morning around the neighborhood where my in-laws live. As I was coming up to one of the yards, a dog came flying out to meet me at the fence barking it’s head off. Some dogs are quite gifted at the bark and this one certainly fell into that category. I started to speed up so I wouldn’t wake the neighbors when I heard a little girl whistling for the dog. I looked at the house and noticed she was probably about 6 or 7 and stood there whistling over and over again. The dog looked back at her, ran a little ways before it turned around and ran back at me barking. It did this a couple times before the little girl ran inside the house. I honestly thought she had given up, but just as I was about past the house I heard a whistle blow. I turned around and saw the dog immediately give up barking and race back to the house without a seconds hesitation. This girl knew that dogs number.
Does your exercise routine feel like you’re just whistling in the wind. No matter how often you go and run on the treadmill it’s almost like a dog that toys with you, momentarily obeying before turning and running away again? So many people try doing the same thing over and over without ever seeing the results they desperately crave. Is that you? If you find that’s the case you need to learn an important phrase…Cross Training.
Every good athlete knows that to see the most improvement you can’t just do the same thing and expect to be at your best. You have to mix in different exercises that challenge your muscles to work differently. I used to work in a gym as a trainer and I remember seeing the same people in there everyday doing the exact same exercises. No variation, day after day, month after month, no change at all. After a while, your muscles adapt to that consistency and you can go a long time with that exercise and not really get a very good workout.
Let me give you an example. I jump rope. I’m sure you’ve figured that out already, but just in case, I jump rope. In fact I do it a lot. For a number of year I was performing 365 programs in roughly 170 school days. One comment I hear from loads of teachers after my performance is, “I can’t believe you can talk so smoothly while you’re jumping”. I wear a wireless microphone and talk through the entire show. I don’t breathe hard, outside of how much I sweat, you’d be hard pressed to tell I even did anything. Jump rope is easy for me because I do it so much. Everyone thinks I’m in amazing shape, which I am, but I can’t run a mile without almost dying. What gives?
My body is so conditioned to jumping that I can do it without hardly any effort, but running kicks my tail because I do it so rarely. If you only do the same thing over and over, your body adapts to that exercise and you don’t get nearly the workout you could be getting if you just started cross training. Most people run and bike, but do you jump rope?
Jump rope is the best cross training exercise available. Besides the obvious health benefits, it’s challenging, fun, creative and will help you develop skills that will benefit any sport you do.
Go on, give it a try, you’ll be whistling Dixie in no time!