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  • Kwan Jie Ling

Cross Training During COVID-19

Well, let’s face it. Who in the world would have expected this pandemic to happen? It was supposed to be the year for big trips, epic adventures, and life changing milestones to mark the beautiful number 2020. Most of us have accepted this as our new reality and that it will be some time before we are able to get back out there on our adventures. Let us make use of this time to continue to keep fit by switching up our routines through cross training.

Keeping fit doesn’t necessarily have to be repetitive laps and clocking distance. It also doesn’t have to be doing that one focused particular activity to train or get a work out. Though if that’s your thing it’s cool too. But don’t be afraid to mix it up once in a while and have some fun.

In fact, as we start moving out quarantine / circuit breaker, a new-ish opportunity presents itself for keeping active in preparation for the next trip (whenever that is). Instead of exploring a foreign place, we can explore Singapore whilst picking up a new sport or activity. Also, when you’re doing sports with other people or friends it’s so fun you typically forget you’re suffering. Before you know it, you’ve spent a good hour or two working out.

Here are some suggestions. Because keeping yourself moving, even if it’s not your main sport is still better than just sitting around doing nothing. It also saves your friend’s or partner’s ears from your complaints to everyone that you’re now super unfit. =)

Some benefits of cross training are:

  • Getting injured less often as we work on activities that use different muscle groups and movements e.g running vs swimming, it reduces the potential of developing overuse injuries and muscle imbalances.

  • Improving overall strength and fitness making you a better-rounded athlete

  • Works on improving flexibility, co-ordination & balance – when combining different elements required in the sport.

If you’re on this blog you’re probably already doing a lot of hiking and running for cardiovascular and endurance fitness.

Next, we talk about some simple ideas of how to cross train. Here are some other activities easily accessible to start off with in our sunny island (as of the writing of this write up, all the places mentioned are open for activities):

  • Gym Work: Don’t forget that building a good foundation of strength is important. This is like the structure of a house. Without a good strength base, the ability to tolerate the workload you put on your muscles is lessened and potentially leads to injury. Don’t underestimate the effectiveness of lifting for leg shoulder strength. It really improves your foundation and ability to take on more load. Examples of exercises that improve overall strength include deadlifts, squats, overhead press, bench press, rows, etc.

  • Playing a game of sport with friends: Basketball. Volleyball. Tennis. Badminton. Touch Rugby. These sports are good for cardiovascular fitness and coordination. Not forgetting that training with friends is good fun.

  • Kayaking: Going on a mini expedition, you could check out Pulau Ubin / Marina Bay / East Coast from the sea instead of land. Big work out for your arms, core and endurance. Or you could hang out playing canoe polo. But get ready to be dunked – you’ve been warned.

  • Cycling: You could go anywhere on a bicycle. The only thing that stops you is your imagination. It gives you a great workout for your legs, build cardio and endurance. And is also a form of low impact exercise. Remember your helmet and bike lights – safety first.

  • Board sports such as snowboarding / skiing / wake boarding / Stand-Up Paddling (SUP) really work those small muscles and your sense of balance and coordination plus it works your core and legs. Personally I find that these balance sports really loosens you up. I know some of you may ask where to find snow but believe it or not there are two places you could snowboard or ski. Wakeboarding at the Marinas or cable ski at East Cost. You could SUP at East Coast or Pasir Ris.

  • Swimming is another low impact exercise that is great for total body fitness and maintenance if you’re recovering from injuries.

  • Yoga helps to improve flexibility and calms the mind. It also helps with breathing techniques.

  • Climbing: Roped climbing or bouldering. Typically some people prefer one to the other. It’s a good time to try and reap the benefits of both. Roped climbing helps with endurance as routes are usually longer and higher and the mental height barrier. Whereas bouldering helps a lot with power output, strength and climbing technique.

  • Martial arts: Needless to say this one was thrown in mainly for the cool factor. Learn the ways of strength, discipline, endurance, balance and coordination. (Spoken like a true Zen master)

Remember to be careful when you are suddenly jumping into the sport to take it easy. Ramp up only after some time to prevent injury because the body and muscles are not yet tuned to it. Remember to have fun and enjoy!

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