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Alternate Sports or Both on the Same Day?

If you exercise in two sports, you will be more fit by alternating sports on successive days, rather than exercising in your two sports on one day and taking the next day off.

You improve by stressing and recovering. If you exercise in only one sport, you take a hard workout on one day, feel sore on the next and do not exercise intensely again until your muscles feel fresh. When you cross train with sports that use different muscle groups, you can exercise hard most days. Running stresses primarily your lower legs and rowing stresses primarily your upper body. Your legs feel sore on the day after you run fast, so you shouldn't run fast after running fast. However, your upper body is still fresh, so you can row intensely on the day after you have run intensely.

If you run and row on the same day, you stress your lower legs and upper body on the same day and they both feel sore and you have to go very easy in both sports on the next day. So the most effective way to cross train is to exercise in two sports on alternate days. That way you can take hard workouts every day, rather than taking easy days until your muscles recover.

Checked 8/9/08

May 12th, 2013
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About the Author: Gabe Mirkin, MD

Sports medicine doctor, fitness guru and long-time radio host Gabe Mirkin, M.D., brings you news and tips for your healthful lifestyle. A practicing physician for more than 50 years and a radio talk show host for 25 years, Dr. Mirkin is a graduate of Harvard University and Baylor University College of Medicine. He is board-certified in four specialties: Sports Medicine, Allergy and Immunology, Pediatrics and Pediatric Immunology. The Dr. Mirkin Show, his call-in show on fitness and health, was syndicated in more than 120 cities. Read More
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