Cross training during the off-season can help you build endurance, avoid injury, and test your body and mind.
Cross training is basically the well-balanced diet of exercise—different parts and functions of the body need different things at different times.
During the off-season it is important to rest, but it is also necessary to attend to your body’s needs that are not getting met during the performance season.
In order to be performance ready once marching season is back in full force, cardio is key. Cardio helps build endurance and stamina.
The American Heart Association/ American College of Sports Medicine recommends that “healthy adults ages 18 to 65 should [get] at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity activity five days of the week.”
While this goal may prove challenging to fit into a busy schedule during fall and winter, summer is the perfect time to put that 30 minutes of heart-pumping cardio exercise back into your routine. Some people think that only running is cardio. A quick-paced yoga class, a brisk bike ride and a swim can all be cardio, too.
Injuries happen—on and off the field. Sometimes a wet field and a bad fall is all it takes to hurt your back, knee or ankle. However, flexibility training can put you in a good position to walk away from a potential injury without so much as an ice pack. Pilates, yoga or a good stretch class at a gym after your cardio routine can help you prevent injuries. Stretching can also ensure that your muscles do not get too tight or bulky.
Flexibility paired with weight training is a truly great combination. Think about the way the body is composed— muscles and tendons wrapped around bone. You need movement and stability to have a healthy body.
Even if you play the flute, lifting weights at least once or twice a week is good for you.
Additionally, balance is one of the first things to go as you age. Why not try a few simple yoga poses, such as “tree,” to test and work on better balance. Balance is similar to hand-eye coordination, and it would be difficult to play an instrument without that. Balance also tests the mind. It prepares you for that moment right before you begin to play.
Make sure to also take some time to rest and relax. After all, it is the off-season. Spread out your off days. It might be tempting to do your cardio workout Monday to Friday and take Saturday and Sunday off, but it is better for your body to take a break in between workouts. This same strategy regarding weight training will also help you build muscle faster.
Remember to start slow and that changes do not happen overnight. Be consistent. Also consult your doctor before beginning any kind of exercise routine.
About the Author
After dancing since the age of 3, Haley Greenwald-Gonella thought it was time to try a new art. In elementary school, she began playing the flute and was in the marching band in middle school and for the first two years of high school. She also played the bassoon during concert season. Dance drew Haley back while in high school.
She graduated from the University of California, Irvine with degrees in dance and English. She is now attending the University of Southern California and is getting her master’s degree in Specialized Journalism (The Arts).
Haley is also a certified registered yoga teacher with Yoga Alliance. She draws upon her dance and yoga training when it comes to all things fitness and the arts.