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As frigid temperatures force even the bravest of us outdoor enthusiasts inside, I can understand how much you probably miss your summer and fall workouts. But don’t fret! There’s actually an upside to all this. Winter is the perfect time to discover new exercises or to tweak your routine.
Perks of Winter Indoor Workouts: Cross-training, New Skills
Indoor exercise is a perfect opportunity for runners, walkers and cyclists to cross-train and discover new skills. During the summer, you many not have spent much time strength training, even though it enhances our abilities and makes what we do safe.
When you are sport specific, the body adapts to certain movements; for runners, walkers and cyclists, this means shortening of the muscles. In winter, you have a chance to strengthen and lengthen those muscles to avoid postural and biomechanical imbalances. This will also help you prevent those extra winter pounds.
Indoor Workout Options: Yoga, Pilates, Boot Camp, Treadmills
There are many options for indoor exercise to achieve this. Group exercise classes are a great way to help lengthen and strengthen muscles. Yoga, Pilates and Boot Camp (high-intensity interval training or HIIT) classes work all the muscles of the body. The benefits of yoga are flexibility, increased strength, improved posture and improved lung capacity. Pilates training focuses on core strength and promotes strength and balanced muscle development, as well as flexibility. HIIT classes offer optimal muscle building and burn more fat and calories than regular aerobic workouts.
Treadmills are a great alternative to outdoor walking or running. (I can see you runners and walkers rolling your eyes as I write this, but give me a chance.) I know a lot of runners and walkers don’t like treadmills, but they are a nice opportunity to vary your routine by adding intervals, speed or hills. Many treadmills already have programmed workouts that can motivate you to increase your endurance and definitely be challenging.
Indoor bikes help you cyclists maintain the strength in your quadriceps, glutes, hamstrings and calf muscles that are so important to biking.
Best Options for Indoor Workout Locations
So, where should you do all this great indoor activity? Exercising at home is always an option if you have the equipment and know what exercises to do. You can also buy exercise DVDs.
Personally, I find exercising at a fitness center to be more fun and productive. Fitness centers, gyms and health clubs offer a wider variety or programs and equipment that can help you fine-tune your routine.
Also, I recommend working with a degreed, certified personal trainer. It’s a great way to have a training program tailored specifically to your abilities and goals.
So, instead of backing off exercise this winter, use this time of the year to get stronger and to help stay injury free. When you hit the outdoors this spring, you will have a little more oomph in your step.
Need some help getting an indoor workout routine started this winter? Contact Mercy Health & Fitness in North Canton, Ohio. Our certified and experienced trainers, therapists and sports medicine professionals can help you develop the right exercise plan for your needs.
About The Author
Mercy Health & Fitness Center's Kelly Mastriacovo holds a bachelor of science in exercise science from Kent State University. She is ACSM certified as a clinical exercise specialist.