Believe me, I understand that you like whatever form of exercise it is that you do. I hear it all the time from patients. Runners, in my opinion, seem to be the athletes who most frequently refuse to do any other form of exercise. However, I see this phenomenon of resisting the need to cross train in cyclists, swimmers, weightlifters and many other athletes.
I am supportive of exercise in all forms. If you love one type of exercise, I’m sure it keeps you motivated to train. Over time, though, it could also lead to injury.
In another tip, I recommend that athletes who play the same sport year round take three months off. Similarly, repetitive stress on one or a few body parts day after day can build up in daily exercise. Pounding the pavement jogging seven days a week might not cause any trouble for a few weeks or months. Do it long enough, though, and overuse injuries like stress fractures or tendinitis will occur.
The upper body is no different. If you swim every day, or row every day, I will predict that a shoulder injury is in your future. Any form of exercise that involves a repetitive motion has this same risk.
You don’t necessarily have to give up exercise, though. (Resting occasionally isn’t always a bad idea!) Just pick a different exercise. Cut back from running six or seven days a week and substitute swimming, cycling or weights for one or two of those days. If you swim regularly, jog or use an elliptical trainer a couple of days a week.
An added benefit could come from the variety. Changing your training could actually make exercise more fun, increase motivation and prevent burnout.
Starting to cross train and varying your exercise routine could prevent an injury that could shut you down completely.