Aerobic cross-training refers to using two to three different types of aerobic exercise during an exercise session. For example, if you plan to exercise for 60 minutes, you might start with 20 minutes of walking or jogging, followed by 20 minutes of biking, and finish with 20 minutes of rowing.
Now, please don't get the impression that you have to be in great shape to do this or that it has to be 60 minutes long. You can start with something as simple as a ten minute walk followed by ten minutes with an exercise video. This is cross-training too. You can gradually build up from there.
Here are some of the exercises you can use in your cross-training program; walking, jogging, biking, rowing, stair climbing, swimming, exercise videos, etc. Any combination of aerobic exercises will do. You simply go from one to the next with very little time between them.
Aerobic cross-training is beneficial to you in several ways:
1. It provides variety which eliminates the monotony often associated with doing the same exercise for a long period of time.
2. If your exercise sessions are less monotonous and more enjoyable, you are much more likely to exercise more often and for longer periods of time.
3. You are less prone to over-use injuries that sometimes occur from doing the same exercise movements over and over again.
4. You tone more muscles because you are using more muscles. For example, walking tones mostly the lower body muscles and rowing tones upper body muscles also. Even exercises like walking and biking that both tone lower body muscles, tone them at different angles and each tones some small muscles that the other doesn't.
5. Aerobic conditioning is very specific to the muscles being worked. For example, you can walk ten miles a day and still be somewhat breathless after climbing stairs because you haven't trained the muscles for that specific movement. Aerobic cross-training allows you to develop more comprehensive aerobic training.
6. Aerobic cross-training is effective for weight loss because your are toning and training the fat-burning systems of more of your muscles. It turns more of your muscles into 24-hour fat-burning machines! You are also more likely to exercise on a regular basis and for longer periods of time. this also promotes weight loss and fitness.