Serious About Saving Money? Three Drastic Ways to Go About It

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Money really does matter in life. Whether you like it or not, we need it to be able to keep a roof over our head, to feed ourselves and to get the things we want and need. It tends to be a pretty taboo subject and isn’t something we can always speak openly about with friends and family, and so whether we’re aiming to save for something or struggling with cash it can often be a lonely journey. Maybe you’re saving up for a house deposit, or perhaps you’re just trying to pay down debts and get your finances straight- if you’re serious about saving some money then here are three ways to go about it.

Move house

The most drastic change of all but something that could save you hundreds, even thousands a year is by moving house. If you’re paying hundreds on rent each month it’s essentially dead money and cash you could be saving. You could move to a smaller property that’s cheaper to run with rent and bills, or you could move in with a kind friend or family member for a while and pay them a set amount in order to save cash. Renting a room with other house sharers is another option, bills and rent tend to be combined and it will be much cheaper than living alone. A great option for the short term.

Give up your car

If you own a car then a large part of your budget every month will be going towards this. Fuel, breakdown cover, repair costs, MOTs, insurance, tax and so on. Giving up your car, at least for a while again will free up money for you to save, pay down debts or whatever you need to do. Start walking everywhere or cycling, it’s good for you and you’ll save £’s while losing lbs. You could look into buying a motorcycle instead, they tend to be much cheaper to run but would still enable you to get around if you need to do longer trips. Just be aware of the risk, any accident attorney like https://www.braininjurylawofseattle.com/seattle-motorcycle-accident-attorney/ will tell you that will motorcycling is less dangerous than you might think, accidents that do occur are more likely to be life changing or fatal.

Start cooking at home

One place that most of us tend to spend too much is on, is food and drink. We buy cold drinks or coffees throughout the day, we order takeaways or go out to restautants to see friends. We buy bottles of wine to enjoy at home, and purchase too many groceries that end up getting wasted. Get a handle on your spending on food and drink and you’ll save yourself a fortune. Buy supermarket cheap brands, and create recipes in bulk that can be frozen and eaten again later on. Big pasta or rice dishes can be combined with any meat, vegetables or sauces that are on offer for example- they cost next to nothing but can be healthy and filling. Start bringing your own drinks and coffee to work and on days out, and stop dining out for a while. Watch the savings start adding up!

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Alternative Methods for Helping to Ease Depression

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If you have been experiencing a low mood for a while now, you may be suffering from depression. To establish whether depression is the cause of you feeling this way, it is always a good idea to seek medical advice so that you can begin to get help through it. It is not uncommon for most people to go through times where they are feeling a little down, but usually, this passes after a few days. However, if you find that your low mood is persistent and making you lose enjoyment for things that you typically love to do, then it is a good idea to get checked out.

While sometimes people are reluctant to take medication when feeling depressed, it is still best to consult a medical professional to discuss your symptoms. Several alternative ways can potentially help when you are experiencing depression, take a look at these suggestions that you may find useful:

Mindfulness

Mindfulness is a skill that is useful to practice even when you are feeling well. Mindfulness is all about being in the present moment, observing thoughts without judgment, and letting them pass.

Using mindfulness enables us to escape from unhelpful thought patterns that drag us into the past or way ahead into the future. Mindfulness is about acceptance and being present in the moment. Mindfulness is especially useful in depression as a way of being present with yourself without judging. Mindfulness is all about accepting the thoughts that come and go without attaching extra meaning to them and allowing yourself some peace. If mindfulness is something that you are interested in trying or reading about, you will find lots of useful books and articles to help you, and even some apps that can provide a practical way for you to get started.

Talk

Depression can be an incredibly isolating illness, where you can feel that you are trapped inside your mind. Speaking to someone that you trust about how you are feeling can often be a big relief. Confiding in a friend or family member will enable you to get some support to help you through the depression and on your journey to feeling well again.

As well as speaking with a friend or family member, you may decide to talk to a professional too. A therapist will be experienced in working with people that have depression and will be able to guide you through talking about how you are feeling, asking you questions that can help you to gain some insight and understanding into your depression. Many people find speaking to a therapist beneficial, and a way to untangle their feelings and make progress towards feeling better.

TMS Therapy

Transcranial magnetic stimulation is more commonly referred to as TMS therapy. TMS therapy is a treatment for depression and was first approved for use by the Federal Drug Administration over a decade ago.

TMS therapy works via electromagnetic pulses that stimulate the part of the brain that regulates moods. No anesthetic is needed for the treatment as tms therapy for depression is non-invasive, because the treatment is applied via an electromagnetic coil that is placed on the patient’s forehead.

TMS therapy is not suitable for everyone, for example, pregnant women, or those trying to become pregnant, or anyone that has metal devices already fitted in their body. TMS therapy is most commonly used on patients that are affected by major depression that does not respond to medication.

Diet

Making a connection between what you eat and your mood levels may seem strange, but increasingly food is cited as a way to improve your mood. Research shows that certain foods may help in the battle against depression, while others can be less helpful and could potentially make symptoms of depression worse. While everyone knows the foods that they should eat to improve their physical health, identifying foods that can improve mental health may not be something that you are aware of.

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There are many similarities between a diet for physical health and one for improving mental health. A healthy diet that is full of fruit, vegetables, and wholegrains is ideal for your all-round health. Cutting down on sugary snacks, red meat and processed meat is also a good idea. While firm evidence on the impact of unhealthy eating on mental health is an ongoing debate, eating a diet that makes you feel physically healthy, is likely to help your mental health too.   

Exercise

Exercise can offer many benefits for physical health, but can also have a positive impact on mental health, including depression. When you are feeling depressed, it can be hard to get motivated to get out and do some exercise, but if you do manage to get active, even for a little while it can give your mood a real boost.

If you are someone that doesn’t regularly exercise, don’t push yourself too hard, as you want the exercise to be an enjoyable experience. Even an activity such as going out for a walk in the fresh air can feel like hard work when your mood is low, but you will often feel much better for doing it.

Physical activity is thought to encourage the brain to produce endorphins, which are feel-good chemicals. Exercise also acts as a tool to break free from negative thought patterns, and an opportunity to get a change of scenery and focus the mind on something else. Group exercise can be especially helpful as a way of combining physical activity with social interaction, and it’s a great way to meet new people and make new friends.

Take Care

When you are stuck in a low mood taking care of yourself is something that you may not even be thinking about. However, taking small steps towards self-care can leave you feeling a little better, and not quite so stuck in your low mood.

Don’t forget that if you are feeling suicidal or are concerned that you may harm yourself or others, it is vital to seek urgent medical attention.

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Things To Consider When Buying An Office Space

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So you and your business are growing (and you’re best pleased)! There’s plenty to consider in running a business whether you are just starting out or in full-swing development stages. There’s your branding, your staff, your budget and your vision. Many companies these days begin as a remote operation yet before long (depending on their needs) many find themselves requiring a premise to keep developing further. There are many choices to be made and things to consider at this stage.

To buy or to rent?

Whether you opt for buying or renting a business space, this will really depend on what your current requirements are and your current budget. Many believe that buying is the better option because this is more of a long-term investment. Renting often feels more temporary and does not allow you to make any money back (while you’re essentially just paying someone else’s mortgage each month). Of course, you and your business may not be in a position to buy currently. Renting is valuable because you are making less of a commitment and not taking on so much pressure. If your business is in the early development stages, you might welcome the idea of having less pressure here from the get-go.

Regardless, if you are looking to buy or rent you’ll probably want to get some electrical installation contractors in to test the electronics of the space (for health and safety purposes). Companies like Caslec Industries Pty Ltd are worth a look regarding these kinds of services. It’s a great idea to get contractors like this to audit your electronic systems regularly to make sure all is safe and sound and that there aren’t going to be any problems that infer with the day-to-day running of your business!

The practicalities

Once you’ve established whether you are going to buy or rent, you’ll want to think about the general day-to-day practicalities. Ensure that you think about the location of the office to ensure that it’s going to be convenient for both you and your employee’s needs. For instance, is it in a convenient location to get to? Are there public transport links nearby? Or, if most of your employee’s drive- is there enough parking? You will also need to think about the space that you need. Is your company suited to an open plan space or not? Do you need a kitchen? The best thing to do is to make some notes of what your needs are and to assess the pros and cons of each place you see. Ensure that you decide on some ‘must-haves’ at the beginning to make sure that you aren’t going to be compromising too much on anything that is important to you.

Equipment

As well as deciding on a suitable space you will need to decide on which kind of equipment you will use? The best thing to do is to work out what your budget is and how much you need? If you’re looking to save money initially, you can start by enabling bring your own device policies whereby your staff can bring their own personal laptops and other devices to use in the office.

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How Empty Nesters Can Benefit from an Active Lifestyle

Posted by Silvernest Team on May 29, 2019 9:00:00 AM

empty-nest-active-lifestyle

Empty nest syndrome is not a vague, theoretical issue—it’s a real problem impacting millions. According to the Mayo Clinic, grown-up kids’ transition out of the home can lead to their parents feeling sadness, loss and disconnection.

On the other hand, this major life transition also represents opportunity to rediscover old hobbies, find new interests and make new connections. An active lifestyle is important at all stages of life, but even more critical if you’re an empty nester. It creates a foundation of mental and physical health that allows you to stay independent and in your home for years to come.

Learn more ways to cope with empty nest syndrome on our blog.

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How Active Do I Really Have to Be?

An active lifestyle can mean anything from vigorous physical exercise like jogging or tennis to social activities such as team card games or group lunches. Walking a 5K, going to a baseball game or simply meeting friends for coffee all “count” as active.

Staying active has mental and physical benefits—and the two often go hand-in-hand. A study from researchers at the University of California, San Francisco found that older adults who experienced mental decline could significantly improve memory and thinking through physical exercise, and “the amount of activity is more important than the type.” In other words, any physical activity is better than none.

Mental and Physical Benefits of an Active Lifestyle

There are numerous studies linking physical activity with improved ability and wellbeing—both physical and mental. Findings include:

  • Increasing physical activity increases oxygen to the brain, which may help improve cognitive function.
  • A simple walking program can significantly reduce the symptoms of depression for people age 60+.
  • Staying active reduces the chance of injury, improves balance and strengthens joints and muscles.
  • Exercise and physical activity can also reduce the risk of falls.

One Unexpected Benefit

We all know physical activity is good for us, but what about socializing and dining with friends?

According to a study of hospitalized seniors, dining together can have significant unexpected impacts. The Mental Health Foundation also promotes the social, biological, and psychological benefits of sharing meals. When we eat together, we tend to consume more food and receive better nutrition, which can help prevent age-related health issues caused by malnutrition.

According to the Center for Advancing Health, socially active adults display aging indicators at a slower rate, and a study from Brigham Young University prescribes social connection for living longer—and healthier.

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Production Planning And Tips For The Manufacturing Process

As you progress with your business, you start to think about other avenues you can explore when it comes to keeping things under the same umbrella. Production and manufacturing may once have been something you outsourced, or used separately, but, it could potentially from part of your business strategy if you take the right steps to make it happen. Production planning and the manufacturing process may seem overwhelming, but here are the top tips to help you through it.

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The costs involved

Initially, as a business, you will have been paying a premium for your products that you sell to be manufactured elsewhere. You pay not just the extra in terms of the labour, but also logistics to get it from point A to point B. Whereas, keeping the manufacturing element within your own business could get rid of those extra costs altogether. You have to reliever that there will still be production costs, but they are at the lowest level. The only initial thing you need to think about would be set up costs, which as an investment, could be worthwhile in the long term.

How you will do it?

Manufacturing your own products will seem daunting at first, and there will be different options that you can choose to help you do it. Creating the products through a production line is the main element to consider, and this is where you will decide on a human production line, a mix of both people and AI or even just glowing down the robotic route. Websites like https://www.millscnc.co.uk have an array of options for machines that you can use. Many choose to have a mixture of the two, so you have robotics and AI for accuracy, and people in terms of quality control.

Where you will do it?

The next thing to think about might be the location in which you choose to manufacturer, and again there can be one big indicator of this, cost. You will be trying to deplete the big costs in terms of logistics, but at the same time, you will want to ensure that you choose the right place for the other costs involved such as the building, and the general day to day running of the factory. There will be a lot to consider, so make sure you weigh up all the options available to you.

Major benefits

Finally, will there be any major benefits for you as a business owner to start the manufacturing process instead of keeping things as they were? The big saving overall can be cost. You will have the initial investment, but once the running of the factory has taken place the lower costs of production will soon narrow the gap. The other thing to remember is the control aspect. You have control of the production line and at the same time can ask for changes to be made as and when needed. There is no chain of command to follow, or another business owner asking you to wait. You have the control to pick and choose exactly how it operates.

Let’s hope that these tips and steps help you on the path to production planning and manufacturing within your business.

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Small Businesses: Step Into The Big Shoes

Stepping into the big shoes of business is something you might never think you’d be able to do. As a small business, everything can be super intimidating to do, especially if you’re in a niche with so many well known companies that are all bigger than you. Every single niche will have businesses struggle through this, but it’s about what you make of the niche that you’re in. So what you need to be able to do, is take a few risks, and jump into the big shoes of business. Every single company that’s above you will have a story, and their story will have most likely dated back years, with tons of risks taken along the way. So that’s what we’re going to try to encourage you to do. If the systems that you have in place at the minute just aren’t suiting your business, and you feel as though you’re not making the progression you ever thought you would, then this article is going to help you. Here are just a few ways that you, as a small business, can step into the shoes of a big business and completely smash it!

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Big Ways Of Dealing With Customer Care

Customer care is something that you definitely want to master as a small business, because as soon as something goes wrong, and people start leaving visible reviews of the experiences that they’re having with you, it can seriously damage the development of your company. It’s also worth noting that when looking into complaints from customers, they’re so commonly made to small businesses who are simply struggling. Or a small business who just doesn’t know how to manage and communicate with customers. So if you know this is an area where you’ve never really got any positive feedback from, or perhaps you’re just trying to deal with the stress of it, and are failing, then there are services out there that could help you. Phone answer services are definitely the way forward for smaller businesses who still have a high flow of customers, and challenges brought with that. A phone answer service is going to put someone else in charge of your calls, meaning you’ll never miss a call again. This is so vital for a small business who is struggling with the volume of calls and messages, meaning that some customers are having to wait days for an answer!

More Innovative Marketing Techniques

There are definitely some more innovative marketing techniques out there, and it’s all about knowing how to connect with your customers in the right way, that’s going to seriously peak their interest. One of the best ways that we think you can do that, is target social influencers and get them to promote your product or service. There are so many loyal followers that these influencers have, all of which would definitely check out what you have to sell, if they see their beloved influencer trying it as well. It might be a little bit of money to do so, but nearly every marketing technique is going to drain your money, you just have to pick the one that’s going to make it back for you! It’s a really common tactic for some of the bigger businesses to utilise social media, social media influencers, and celebs to sell their products. It just makes you look so much better as a company when you have a big backing like that. So think about all of the different adverts and campaigns that you could create, and how social media can facilitate that!

Natural Big Steps To Take

There are some natural big steps to take, and some very big shoes to step into. The first one that we’re going to talk about can either happen years down the line for some businesses, or for those who are rapidly expanding at a crazy rate, it can happen within the first year. But one thing you’re eventually going to need to do, if you do have the growth that you desire and the money to back it, hiring a managing director. This does not mean that you’ll be selling the company or giving any of it away as such, but it does mean that you’ll bring on someone to manage your business. When you experience rapid growth, it can be so hard to manage it, especially for someone who hasn’t really had a experience within a big business before. So a managing director is definitely a naturally big step that you’re going to have to take at some point!

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How to Add Cross Training to Your Workouts

Authored by Nate Martins • December 2, 2018

Dedicated training is something to be admired. Many athletes strive for the ability to get up and get out every single day whether it’s for a specific race or event or even, simply driven by a goal. Often that can mean adhering to a training plan based on both repetition and incrementally increased difficulty–monotony and overuse be damned.

But you may get hurt. Or plateau. Or experience a disruption in your training schedule. These can all be detrimental to accomplishing a goal. Then there’s also that inevitable boredom of doing the same training day in and day out. You swear that footprint on the trail was yours from yesterday.

Enter cross training, an exercise program usually employed outside of these intense training blocks to add some variance (physically and mentally) to workouts. It keeps the body guessing, and has many athletes reap the benefits for their main sport: decreased injury potential, and added strength to the most-used muscles.

Here, we’ll detail the science behind cross training, how to work it into your schedule, and some new exercises to try. Your main sport will thank us.

This is Your Body on Cross Training

Simply put, cross training is training in another discipline in improve your main sport. The options are almost limitless–runners can strength train, swimmers can paddle board, cyclists can do yoga. The goal is to supplement your main sport with training that’s beneficial for certain muscles, movements, or even, your brain and mood.

For most athletes, the inclusion of cross training into a workout plan is triggered by an injury sidelining them from regular training. I was no different–hours of basketball and running led to knee pain (from patellar tendonitis, known as “runner’s knee” or “jumper’s knee”) . But I was stubborn. When I should have stopped the joint-pounding activities, I continued to beat them like a drum. It got to a point where the pain wasn’t worth the workout; but I couldn’t give up working out all together. So I started swimming and incorporating yoga into my routine, which delivered positive and painless results.

Turns out, I’m not alone. Up to 56% of recreational runners experience injuries, with most of those relating to the knee. Supplements can help (like glucosamine, which promotes the development of cartilage), but up to 75% of those are overuse injuries.

Since a majority of injuries happen due to time dedicated to a single sport, cross training can help prevent injuries for the simple fact that it forces athletes to spend less time training singularly. Cross training doesn’t just maintain activity by reducing the risk for injury–it also can increase performance.

A study of 27 male runners were assigned one of three different resistance training regimens (in addition to their normal endurance training): heavy resistance, explosive resistance or muscle endurance training. In all three groups, running endurance performance increased. The heavy-lifting group in particular saw improvements to high-intensity running characteristics, like sprinting at the end of the race.

The benefits of cross training aren’t just physical; there’s also a potential mental benefit of switching it up. Mental fatigue can impact physical workouts–you may be less likely to workout knowing that you’re facing the exact same exercise every day. Especially if an athlete is in-season or training for a specific event, cross-training can provide an exciting challenge. It’s easy to be training heads-down; cross training can help you see the forest between the trees.

Implementing Cross Training

Divorce yourself from the idea that cross training takes away from your regular training schedule. While you’ll inevitably be spending time away from your sweetheart sport, absence makes the muscles grow stronger.

There are three main groups of cross training for endurance athletes: strength training, aerobic low-impact work and aerobic impact work, and each can be part of a cross training program.

Strength Training

Touching upon all major muscle groups is important for effective strength training.

Incorporating strength training into an endurance regimen can enhance physical fitness, as it did in this meta-analysis of distance runners. Even just 30 minutes per week, once or twice a week, can suffice. And it doesn’t necessarily have to be done in a gym; you can take the at-home approach to incorporating plyometrics or things like push ups.

Regardless of where you strength train, a full body workout will maximize the time you spend training. Consider hitting all the major muscle groups such as arms, chest, shoulders, back, core and legs (more on this later).

Aerobic Low-Impact Work

Probably the reason many athletes experiment with cross training: take stress off those weary joints and reduce injury risk.

Low-impact activities or no-impact workouts can be done two or three times as week. It’s easily implemented, as it can replace an active recovery day or even a harder workout day depending on the exercise; so for those who think they’re losing gains because of cross training, you may actually find yourself enjoying the cross training more than your main exercise.

Cycling, swimming and rowing are some of the most popular low-impact workouts. For flexibility and core exercises, yoga and pilates are go-tos. And you may even be able to workout longer and more frequently using these types of workouts due to the lack of stress they cause the body (swimmers can work out every day, and they’re hitting all the major muscle groups). For example, if you planned on running 45 minutes, you could easily spend 70 minutes cycling.

Aerobic Impact Work

Maybe the reason you’re reading this article is because of too much aerobic impact work.

If you’re training, the amount of aerobic impact work will likely be higher (and may be your only focus during that training block). But in the off-season, or times when you’d like to give your body a break, aerobic impact work should be done once or twice a week. As a general rule, cross-training is meant to limit the impact on the body.

Typically, cross training is meant to offer your body a break from the impact it faces during regular training. You can play team games, train run, circuit train or do CrossFit as a cross training method, as the impact is likely different from your normal routine. But be mindful: any impact work still puts strain on the body.

The Importance of Rest

Before getting into the specific exercises to try, remember the need for rest. Your muscles are asking for it.

The goal of every training session is to break down muscle and without recovery, a portion of that work might be wasted. During recovery, the body begins the process of rebuilding what has been broken down.

Muscle protein synthesis can increase by as much as 50% in the hours after a workout, helping encourage muscle growth. Concurrently, muscle fibers are rebuilt. These processes are a normal part of exercise, and recovery allows the muscles to become stronger. Fluid restoration is also key, as it helps deliver nutrients to organs and muscles through the bloodstream. And acids (via that hydrogen proton associated with lactate) accumulate during workouts–so recovery provides time for the body to restore intramuscular pH and blood flow for oxygen delivery.

In-season, professional triathlete, Kelsey Withrow, is laser-focused on training. When she’s not training, it’s all about recovery.

“As a professional triathlete, I focus all my time on swimming, running and biking. The rest of the time is for recovery.”Kelsey Withrow, professional triathlete

Even though cross training is meant to give the body a break from regular training, it’s still is a source of stress and requires recovery time (or you might burnout). For most athletes, it’s difficult to slow down. Many of us are goal-oriented, hardworking and ultimately–a bit stubborn. Budgeting recovery time is essential, as is providing your body with the necessary fuel to recover properly.

Supplementing recovery may help expedite that process and get you back in the saddle faster. HVMN Ketone has been shown to improve recovery by decreasing the breakdown of intramuscular glycogen and protein during exercise (when compared to carbs alone). It also expedited the resynthesis of glycogen by 60% and protein by 2x when added to a normal post-workout carb or protein nutrition.

Doing the same exercise can be mentally exhausting, leading to a mental fatigue that wears down on your desire to even do the workout. Research has shown that the mind is usually a good gauge of the body, with a mental strain reported by a questionnaire being closely related to stress signals in the hormones of the body. By switching it up with cross training, and also ensuring rest days, the mind will get a chance to recharge too.

Cross Training Exercises

Now is the time to incorporate cross training workouts. The exercises below touch on several different areas of exercise, from strength training to both low-impact and impact aerobic activities.

You can begin by folding in some additional exercises to your existing workouts. Runners may try hills or cyclists may try 30 second sprints–this isn’t cross training exactly, it’s just extra training. The benefits of cross training come with learning something new and focusing on different areas of the body that regular training can neglect.

Try working some of these exercises into your routine. It’s important to pick which is best for your personal needs.

Swimming

Benefits: Aerobic and cardio workout without the joint or muscle impact

Concerns: Technical ability can limit the quality of training

How to try it: Ensure you have the proper equipment (goggles, swim cap, fins, etc.), check lane times at your local pool, familiarize yourself with technique

A great whole body workout, swimming is one of the low-impact exercises most often used for recovery or cross training. Interestingly, reports show many people enjoy water-based exercise more than land-based exercise.

Swimming works the whole body; it increases heart rate without the joint-pounding stress of running, it builds endurance and can also build and tone muscle. Because of these benefits, it’s a great option for recovery–a study showed that patients with osteoarthritis showed reduced stiffness, joint pain and overall less physical limitation.

It also torches calories. Swimming has shown improved body weight and body fat distribution when compared to walking. An average person can burn almost 450 calories when swimming at a low or moderate pace for one hour. At increased pase, that could go north of 700 calories. For comparison, running for one hour at a leisurely pace burns about 400 calories.

Outside of the aerobic benefits, swimming (and water training, like deep-water running) has shown to improve cardiovascular health and lung capacity.

To incorporate swimming into your cross training routine, first find a place to swim. Then gather the necessary tools (like goggles, swim cap, fins, etc.), and brush up on form before jumping in the pool. Try it one to three times a week for 30 minutes to start.

A cyclist riding through the city with the benefits, concerns and ways to try cycling beneath him.

Cycling

Benefits: Low impact, aerobic, and strength building

Concerns: Risk of injury and cost of equipment

How to try it: For outdoor cycling, get a bike properly fitted and map your cycling route. Or find a bike / spin class at your local gym. For beginners, try cycling 45 minutes to an hour

Another low impact workout, cycling is a great way to reduce stress on those joint while still clocking in the aerobic hours.

Similar to swimming, cycling burns calories at an impressive clip, anywhere from 400 – 1,000 per hour depending on the intensity of the ride. And since cycling is also a resistance exercise, it’s not just burning fat–it also builds muscle.

A systematic review analyzed the benefits of cycling, showcasing a myriad of results. There was a positive relationship between cycling and cardiorespiratory fitness, cardiovascular fitness and general fitness. Whether on the road, the track, or in the gym on a stationary bike, the benefits of cycling as a cross training mechanism stem from the fact it’s a low impact, muscle building, aerobic workout. It can help athletes train if they have experienced an injury.

There are several ways to train on a bicycle. You can ride hills to build muscle and strength, or do shorter sprints to build speed. There’s also an option for endurance, with riders cycling hundreds or thousands of miles over the course of a long session. For beginners, get a feel for the workout on a stationary bike. As you advance, visit a local bike shop to get your bike properly fitted.

Strength Training

Benefits: Increased muscle strength, bone density, injury prevention, mental health

Concerns: Improper form and too much weight can lead to injury

How to try it: Find a gym with the proper equipment and build a training plan, picking exercises that target both the upper and lower body.

Many endurance athletes don’t consider strength training as part of their workout routine, but it can help prevent injury while improving strength for your main sport. For runners, maybe that’s improved core strength for economy. For cyclists, maybe the outcome is a higher power output. Regardless of your sport, strength training is imperative to improving endurance for runners and cyclists.

In a study of postmenopausal women, high-intensity strength training exercises showed preserved bone density while improving muscle mass, strength and balance. It can also help prevent injury. In a study of soccer players who strength trained in the offseason, hamstring strains were lower (and that group also saw increases in strength and speed).

“You spend so much time beating your body down in-season, but I find that I’m healthier and stronger when I lift. With long distance, being strong helps. I try to put on a lot of muscle during a short period of time.”Kelsey Withrow, professional triathlete

The mental benefits of resistance training have also been documented; studies have shown it improves anxiety and depression.

A good strength training regimen will focus separately on different muscle groups. There are several options for lifters of all different levels, but starting with some simple bodyweight exercises (like push-ups or pull-ups) can allow you to build toward free weight training, weight machines, or rubber tubing. A meta analysis of periodized training–varying your strength training workouts–has shown results for greater changes in strength, motor performance and lean body mass. So don’t get stuck doing the same routine over and over again. A good way to push yourself is to incorporate overload training into some of that strength work.

If you’re strapped for time, a full-body workout once or twice a week (with dedicated recovery time) should suffice. Make sure to also spend some time nailing down form in the weight room, as improper form and too much weight can lead to injury.

Yoga

Benefits: Increased strength, mobility, flexibility and mood

Concerns: Improper form can lead to injury

How to try it: Find a studio and pick a class level that’s appropriate for your skill level.

An ancient practice designed to create a union between the body and mind, many athletes seek out yoga for its ability to increase strength and flexibility while also promoting mental health benefits.

Yoga can improve performance by targeting specific aspects of flexibility and balance–one study, which took place over the course of 10 weeks in male collegiate athletes, saw improvements in both balance and flexibility. In older adults, studies have shown improved balance and mobility. Strength is also a target of many yoga programs, especially in the core. Even a study in which a specific pose (sun salutation) was used six days per week for 24 weeks, participants saw increased upper body strength, weight loss and endurance.

But with yoga, the body is only half the game. It has been shown to decrease cortisol levels (the stress hormone), along with the ability to lower levels of depression, stress and anxiety. There have even been studies which showed overall quality of life improvements in seniors. Maybe part of these mental benefits are linked to better sleep quality. One study illustrated that a group participating in yoga fell asleep faster, slept longer and felt more well-rested in the morning.

Yoga isn’t an aerobic workout, but it stretches muscles, builds strength and has been shown to improve mood. Because it’s low-impact, yoga can be done every day. Typically gyms or studios have beginner classes, and they will typically last between 60 and 90 minutes. Athletes can use yoga as recovery days, so between one and three sessions per week would be perfect.

Remember: listen to your body. Athletes always want to push the limit, and many may scoff that yoga is difficult (compared, say, to running). But extending a stretch too far, or practicing yoga without learning form, can lead to injury.

Other Exercises

There are different activities that may be considered cross training, outside of the usual suspects we detailed above.

Hiking, for example, is a great way to build strength and get outside during a recovery day. Same goes with exercises like kayaking or stand-up paddle boarding–these can help build upper body strength while encouraging an athlete to get out of their comfort zone (literally, and figuratively).

“I spend a lot of time training indoors, so getting outside is a lot of fun. I’ll do one long run per week outside, and I’ll bring my dog. It’s a reset for me.”Kelsey Withrow, professional triathlete

We wouldn’t recommend team sports because there’s a risk of injury. But tennis might be an exception. While there are of course injury concerns with every sport and exercise, tennis has shown to improve aerobic fitness, lower body fat percentage, reduce risk for developing cardiovascular disease and improve bone health.

For more passive cross training, think about everyday things you can do to improve strength and balance. Even investing in a standing desk, or sitting on a medicine ball at work can encourage better posture and more movement overall.

Cross Training for Athletes

During peak training season, athletes feel the grind. You’re putting in the hours with a race or event or goal in mind, laboring over the same path, the same laps, the same routine, with little variance.

Cross training is meant to serve as a break, but one that’s productive. It can be a break from your normal routine, both physically and mentally. But it can also invigorate the mind, providing it with a new task to learn, a new challenge to face. And of course, the physical benefits of testing the body in new ways are evident.

To incorporate cross training, try one or more of these exercises a couple times a week. See how you feel. You’ll likely find one you enjoy more than others, one that maybe provides better results than the rest. It’ll take some time to find a balance.

What’s your cross training routine? Let us know in the comments and share your experience.

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