Okay, so I think I’m back on track…this is my third post of the week…a special thanks to Brenda for asking last week if I was still going to do my blog…I needed that kick in the pants!
A few quick miscellaneous things before I get into today’s topic. First off, thanks to those of you who read and follow my blog. My hits are steadily going up, and I actually have an Alexa ranking now (Alexa ranks websites based on visits…for example, Google has the #1 Alexa ranking). We will not pay attention to the fact that my ranking is like 10,000,000 (seriously, it is) but considering I wasn’t even ranked before, then I was ranked around 26,000,000, I think I am heading in the right direction. Alexa rankings are more important if you are planning to advertise on your site, which I am not, but it’s kind of cool to be ranked nonetheless.
Second miscellaneous tidbit…I have added an easy way for you to be notified (via email) when I have posted a new blog. Just scroll down and it is on the right hand side. I will not use your email addresses for anything…you will just receive a notice when I have posted to my blog, which is generally 2-3 times per week. You can also unsubscribe at any time.
Finally…we had an earthquake here on Tuesday (I was driving, didn’t feel a thing) which was really a non-event but got tons of news coverage. The local media would probably still be covering it except for the looming threat of Hurricane Irene. Supposedly this could be the strongest hurricane to hit New England since Hurricane Bob in 1991. I didn’t live here in 1991, I lived in the midwest where we don’t get hurricanes. I really don’t know what you are supposed to do to prepare, so I have water, flashlights, batteries and a little bit of extra non-perishable food (one piece I read said to withdraw extra money from the ATM in case the ATMs go down…I’m not really sure what you would do with all that withdrawn cash if there is no power…not like stores are going to open or anything). My biggest concern is losing power…I live in a town where everyone is on their own well…which means you need a pump…which runs on electricity. So no power = no water (in addition to no lights, no refrigerator, no cooktop, and worst of all, no coffeemaker). Hopefully this will not be too serious. I doubt we will get another week with both an earthquake and a hurricane…something to tell my grandkids about some day.
Okay, on to today’s topic. I read an article in the NY Times last week called “Perks of Cross-training May End Before Finish Line.” This is an interesting read for anyone who considers themselves an athlete, weekend warrior or otherwise. The article points out that numerous studies have found that cross-training (doing another activity outside of your primary one), contrary to popular belief, does not reduce the incidence of injuries, nor does it improve performance in the primary activity. So, for example, if you are a runner, riding your bike once or twice a week is not going to help you to avoid running injuries nor will it improve your running performance, according to the studies cited.
I have to say I am not convinced that cross-training will not help with reducing injuries. Namely because I have seen other studies where injuries (in particular running-related ones) are a function of the amount of time spent doing a particular activity…so the more you run, for example, the greater likelihood you will become injured. To me then, it stands to reason that if cross-training replaces some of the hours you run, I think that the likelihood of injury could still be impacted (in a positive way). The studies cited in the NYT article do say that cardiovascular capacity can be maintained with cross-training, but that using cross-training to maintain performance has not proven effective.
Despite the fact that cardiovascular cross-training does not seem to improve performance and may not reduce injury rates, the article does point out that strength training (which I view as another form of cross-training) has a positive impact on performance. How long have you been reading my blog? How long have you been avoiding strength training? Why aren’t you lifting weights? Shall we review the benefits again?
- Increased muscle on your body increases your metabolism which in turn burns more calories, like all the time.
- Strength training helps, at a minimum, maintain bone density. Some studies show that it may actually increase bone density.
- Strength training (like any form of physical activity) burns calories. Strength training is like an interval workout ~ lift (elevate heart rate), rest, lift, rest. Interval training has been shown to be the most effective form of physical activity for weight loss.
- You will look better…okay, this might be my opinion, but I have shown you in the past how awesome women look who lift.
- And now, add to the list athletic performance improvement.
- I am going to add one more…I don’t have studies or proof…but I am a big believer in strength training to help avoid injuries. There is a lot of attention being paid lately to athletic injuries being sustained by young athletes, young women in particular. Strength coaches working with the athletic population are firm believers in the power of strength development to help avoid many of the injuries showing up in alarming numbers.
So what are you waiting for? Get out there and lift. I am going to leave you with a completely awesome video clip of women squatting (and one deadlifting ~ Nia Shanks, who I have mentioned before ~ who sets a deadlift PR at 2:20 in the video…if nothing else, fast forward and watch her…she is a peanut and deadlifts 330…and then gives a great head bob). And by the way, I want you to note how deep these women are squatting ~ now that’s how you should squat…more on that in a post next week.