Fitness: How cross-training helps you lose weight and prevents "exercise boredom"

Sick of the same old routine? Cross-training, or training lots of different ways, can help you lose weight and stop stale workouts

Cross training shoes
(Image credit: Getty images)

If you've been exercising for a little while, it's very natural to see good results at first, only to have your progress stall after a little while. This is often when you're doing the same type of exercise over and over again, like running or the same resistance training moves. To break the cycle, you need to switch up your tired old routine and start doing some cross-training. 

Cross-training is the practice of taking part in lots of different disciplines to improve your health, fitness and effectiveness at your chosen sport or exercise. For example, if you like running, you might want to do some resistance training like squats to get stronger legs and core, which will help you on long runs. 

If you do one exercise for a long period of time, you get better at it, which is obvious. However, according to Michigan State University, your body also becomes more efficient at conserving energy during this kind of exercise, which can cause your weight loss or fitness progress to stall. 

MSU's Erin Carter writes: "If the frequency, intensity, time and type of exercise is the same every day, the body gets very good at it and it has no reason to continue to become more efficient or fitter. 

"On the other hand, if the frequency, intensity, time or type of exercise changes regularly the body must continually make advancements and increase fitness."

Cross training with dumbbells

(Image credit: Getty images)

This is why taking part in cross-training is so important Grab some equipment, like one of our best cross-training shoes that can do it all. It not only helps you lose weight and maintain your fitness progress, but it also stops you getting bored with exercise. 

Carter writes: "Doing this same routine day in and day out without variation gets tedious and boring. This boredom can lead to finding excuses not to exercise. 

"Different exercise styles offer different feelings of exertion and satisfaction, helping keep you motivated to continue exercising."

We've shown before that the key to staying active is trying lots of different exercises, but this is more information that variation won't just help you to enjoy your workout, but it'll actually help with smashing your goals. 

Pick a discipline tangentially related to the one you currently like doing. For example, swimmers might want to pick up a pair of our best adjustable dumbbells in order to get stronger in the water. On the other hand, keen walkers might want to take on a 30-day squats challenge to strengthen those legs.

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Matt Evans

Matt Evans is an experienced health and fitness journalist and is currently Fitness and Wellbeing Editor at TechRadar, covering all things exercise and nutrition on Fit&Well's tech-focused sister site. Matt originally discovered exercise through martial arts: he holds a black belt in Karate and remains a keen runner, gym-goer, and infrequent yogi. His top fitness tip? Stretch.