Until two years ago I was not a person to talk to about cross-training. I’m a runner, and runners run. Period. But that’s not exactly true if you want to prolong your running career and maintain a well-rounded fitness program. Still, my conversion to cross-training believer didn’t come easily.
As a high school student I was a gymnast. Not satisfied specializing on one or two events, I competed in all of them. I loved gymnastics and believe it’s one of the best sports for developing overall fitness. Sadly, there’s only so much a middle aged body can take when it comes to gymnastics, and I’ve had some pretty serious injuries related to that sport so it’s not in my best interest to pursue it any further.
Over twenty years ago I had surgery on my neck to fuse discs damaged in a fall from the horizontal bar, and had to stop running for a year. During that time I tried swimming, another sport that can develop an overall strong, fit body if you can endure the monotony of swimming back and forth, over and over again, to get the workout that you need. I swam a lot of miles while waiting for the doctors okay to resume my running program. I also logged a lot of miles on my bicycle. I enjoyed that, but to elevate my heart rate to the level I was used to from running, I had to go really far, really fast. It was fun, but it never felt the same as running and I never felt like I was working as hard or efficiently as I wanted. Once I completed my year of healing from spinal fusion, I hit the roads hard.
Two years ago I had to have surgery on both of my feet. Not because of running too much, but because I have some bones in my feet that are too short and caused too much stress in all the wrong places. I now have five pieces of titanium in both feet. My feet work properly now but I still get sore if I overdo the running. One year ago I had to have my lower spine fused. Again, not because of too much running, but because I have degenerative disc disease. Not really a disease, this is something that’s very common and affects different people in different ways and most of us will feel its effects in one way or another as we age. I now have six pieces of titanium in my back. All of this brings me back to the original point: I need to cross-train if I want to continue running.
An article toward the back of Runner’s World magazine last year led me to a contraption called “ElliptiGO”. Picture an elliptical trainer on wheels and you’re on the right track. Described as an elliptical bicycle, the ElliptiGO has two wheels and handle bars with hand brakes like a bike, but no seat. Your feet sit in trays and your legs move in an elliptical motion while you stand upright. This upright position produces more wind resistance than a bike and provides an excellent workout! The motion is as close to running as you can get without actually running, and the pounding on the body is nonexistent. If you can’t handle stares from curious onlookers, the ElliptiGO isn’t for you. But if you want a great workout very similar to running without the pounding, give one a try. Check out www.elliptigo.com or stop in at a HealthStyles Exercise Equipment near you for more information. I promise it’ll put a smile on your face and some sweat on your brow.
Fort Collins Coloroadoan
HealthStyles Exercise Equipment carries the full selection of ElliptiGO bikes. Complete specifications and additional videos, images, and reviews are online here: