|Dancing is a Great Form of Cross Training|
Cross training for runners can easily be expanded outside of the realms of running, weight lifting, bicycling and swimming. One form of cross training that most runners don't consider and that I would like to talk about is dancing.
Dancing can be a lot of fun, and anybody that has done it on a regular basis can attest that it can be a bit of work as well. Of course, most people don't realize how much work dancing can be because it is a lot like ice skating. Early ballroom dance lessons will not leave you all that sweaty or tired, but as you get better, you will stop less often for instruction and will attempt more complicated manouvers that will require more energy and stamina. Dancing the night away is a great way to burn some calories while enjoying yourself.
One of the biggest advantages that dancing has over other forms of cross training is that it is a great activity to work on your balance. For most people, dancing will be for the most part a cardiovascular activity and will not put large amounts of stress on your legs or back. You do not need to be in really good shape to enjoy it. You will be able to work your muscles in a different way than usual, and will better learn both foot/eye and hand/eye coordination.
Dancing is an activity that is best served with other people, but it can also be done solo. You could dance with strangers, or depending upon the style you could dance with or by yourself. Some styles of dancing require more room than others, but for the most part you could manage quite well in your living room or back yard.
If you live in an urban area, there there will probably be some night clubs that are open on the weekends if not all week. Dance studios may also have a ballroom and/or latin dancing night once a week or once every month on top of their normal lessons, if you only wanted to go out occasionally. You may even be able to find some local halls that have dance nights on some sort of regular schedule.
My advice is to find a partner, take some lessons, and go out and enjoy yourself. Just be careful not to eat or drink too much while you are out having fun or you may discover that the dancing is more of a liability than a benefit in your cross training. Then again, if you are having enough fun, then maybe you won't!