Looking for a way to round out your fitness? These five sports will help you do so and more.
Even the most top-level pros dip their toes in other sports now and again. It helps them stay both mentally and physically well-rounded so they avoid burnout and imbalance. Cross-training not only gives you a break from the bike now and then, but it also provides options for burning fat and calories, and keeps your weight-loss results rolling when you can't ride because of weather or travel.
There are countless ways to cross-train - the key is to find something that speaks to you. Here are a few suggestions.
Thanks to your buoyancy, water sports are very forgiving on your body, so it's gentle on your joints and provides an extra opportunity to stretch out and strengthen your core, upper back, and shoulder muscles while getting and amazing cardiovascular workout. It's one of the best exercises anyone could do.
Nothing more than walking on a trail, hiking offers a challenge to your muscles and cardiovascular system (and scorches calories) while invigorating your senses and rejuvenating your mind. You don't need to live near big hills to do it, either. Any path through a park will do.
Running is pretty hard on the joints, especially if you're carrying some extra weight - and doubly so if you're not accustomed to it already. But, let's face it, it is a pretty convenient way to stay fit, because it burns several hundred calories per hour. Instead of pounding your knees into the ground trying to run continuously, try walking or jogging. Start with a brisk walk if you have to, and warm up for about 10 minutes prior. Then, once you're ready, jog for 30 seconds. Return to a brisk walk for a few minutes, and then jog again. As you become more fit, increase the jogging time until you hit a few minutes.
For riders who have a chance of getting onto the snow, skiing - especially cross-country skiing - tops the list of cross-training sports that completely fry fat and keep your cycling muscles really strong. It also stretches your hip flexors and builds incredible cardiovascular endurance. Snowshoeing is another excellent option if you're looking for something different.
It counts as cross-training and is something you can and should do year-round to stay strong and balanced, in addition to keeping your metabolism running high. Oh, and you're in luck, because you can find a plan right here!