I like to run. It is a great way to get my cardio in, I can enjoy the fresh air, and there are no monthly dues. Really it is a perfect set-up for myself and many others. They same things goes for people who like to cycle. But one downside to using these outdoor sports as a primary source of exercise is that come fall and winter the weather can make things a bit difficult.
Shorter days, cold weather, rain, and sometimes even snow can really get in the way of an outdoor exercise program. So the key is to plan ahead and have your backup options already in place. That way when a sudden downpour occurs you are ready to switch to Plan B without skipping a beat.
With that in mind here are a few ideas for alternatives you can do indoors:
Buy a treadmill or cycle machine – This is a great idea for a serious runner or cyclist. You can keep yourself up to speed no matter what is going on outside. A good model can be expensive but you have to look at it like an investment in your health. Some people might consider joining a gym but during the winter months they are ripe with germs.
Aerobics – All you need is a few exercise videos, a TV, a DVD player, and some space. The nice thing is it can be a break from what you normally do and provide some nice change of pace motions to strengthen other areas of your body.
Insanity (or other similar HIIT programs) – Much like aerobic videos these are great any-time activities that just require some living room space. The hard-core exercise programs will give you a serious workout and look to make you stronger everywhere. While not running or cycling as much due to the weather will affect you a little bit, this style of training will make up for it with more overall body strength and muscle endurance in a way your body isn’t used to.
Jump Rope – The old standby is just a rope with two handles and some space. Jumping rope is often a forgotten exercise but is really quite a good workout. The shoulders, arms, and legs get some toning while the constant movement burns 10 to 12 calories a minute. Yup, if you can manage 30 minutes of skipping rope then you just skipped off 300 to 360 calories which is comparable to jogging.
Wii/Kinect/Move – If you (or your kids) have a motion video game system then make use of it. There are tons of great games that involve exercise, boxing, or fitness that you can do with your own virtual personal trainer. They can be fun and engaging as well as a good workout.
Heavy Bag – Boxing is an old stand-by and a great way to burn calories, work out aggression, and tone up your body. A good heavy bag is much cheaper than a treadmill or therapy session for that matter. You can mix it up with normal boxing or even add in some cardio kick-boxing for fun.