More praise from the lab for cross-training

On Saturday’s 6-mile training hike for October 1’s Ultimate Hike, I was asked to clarify the weekly training schedule. “On Monday, it says to cross-train. What would qualify as cross-training?”

Something other than hiking that will build your strength, build your cardio, I answered. I ran through a litany of options, from riding a bike, to taking a yoga class to lifting weights. But I missed some obvious ones. Like work in the yard. Two things reminded me of that option.

First, a new study out of Kingston, Ontario’s Queen’s University reiterating that all kinds of activity provide good cardiorespiratory fitness, from simply taking the stairs at work, to vacuuming your rumpus room, to weeding your garden.

In the study, “inactive, abdominally obese men and women” were assessed for IPA (“incidental physical activity”), LPA (“light physical activity”) and MPA (“moderate physical activity”) for their CRF (“cardiorespiratory fitness”). I could sedate you with the footnotes, formulas and numbers in the thousandths reported in of the study; rather, suffice it to say simply that “both duration and intensity of IPA were positively associated with CRF among inactive, abdominally obese adults.” Even more simply said: People who become more active in their day-to-day lives — by mopping the floor, by mowing the lawn, by cleaning the attic — improved their cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF).

I was further reminded of the benefits of IPA cross-training when I worked in the yard for five hours on Sunday. I still ache in places that don’t get touched on a hike.

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