Invigorate exercise routine with cross training

Has going through the same routines in an exercise regime over and over again grown old? Perhaps mixing things up with a cross-training approach can help. Cross training involves working a variety of activities into a fitness program. This might include alternating a jogging routine with a couple of days of swimming, or mixing in a game of tennis or even round of golf.

These activities are aerobic in nature and use similar muscles in different ways. It can also give your body a more rounded tune-up, something that might not come from focusing on one form of exercise.

A general cross training program features three components:

- Aerobic exercises to improve cardiovascular capabilities

- Strength training with weight lifting and push-ups to develop muscle mass

- Flexibility exercises - such as stretching, dance or yoga - that keep muscles limber

Exercise activities should take place for at least 30 minutes on most days. Start slowly at first and gradually increase the duration and intensity of the exercises. A good rule of thumb to follow is the 10 percent rule, in which the frequency, duration, or intensity of an activity increases by no more than 10 percent each week.

The types of exercises selected for a cross-training program are up to you; you should decide on activities that are convenient and enjoyable. Also, it is important to consult a physician before beginning any new exercises.