When the temperature drops this winter, don’t let your motivation for exercise fall along with it. Cold weather doesn’t have to put a chill on your fitness routine, even if the treadmill or stair-stepper seems boring compared with jogging or riding your bike outside. It is important to ask yourself: How can I make exercise different to stay motivated? If you’re seeking an answer, you may want to consider alternative indoor fitness choices. Consider the following indoor activities to freshen up your exercise routine.
A pool workout isn’t limited to the endless back-and-forth of lap swimming, thanks to water aerobics and other classes that take place in pools. Because the effects of gravity decrease in the water, a pool workout is easy on the joints. Water is also about 12 times thicker than air. That increases resistance, so moving through water also gives you cardiovascular benefits as you build strength. The pool can provide a workout at a high intensity with almost no impact, a real plus, especially as you get older. Keep in mind, you still sweat, even in the pool, so drink before you feel thirsty to remain hydrated. Also, because blood flows more easily when you’re in the water, your heart rate will be lower than it would be using the same intensity on land. Pay attention to your breathing and how tired you feel so you don’t overdo it.
If riding the stationary bike is getting old, you might want to try indoor cycling. This is often called spinning. Indoor cycling classes are instructor-led fitness classes taught on stationary bikes accompanied by music. The instructor takes you on a virtual ride, changing the speed and resistance. Indoor cycling tones the lower body, works your heart and lungs, and burns 350 calories to 600 calories per 45-minute class. Calories burned depend of the size of the participant and the intensity level of the class. Most instructors encourage participants to go at their own pace.
Kickboxing uses martial arts kicks and punches in an aerobic class setting. Kickboxing is a high-intensity exercise. A 135-pound person is likely to burn 350 calories to 450 calories during a 50-minute class. Participants need to take steps to avoid injury, especially muscle strains and joint problems. If you’re a beginner, start slowly and work up to more complicated moves.
Being forced indoors during the winter can make you feel like climbing the walls. Look for a specially designed climbing wall at your health club or local college. Scaling a 40-foot height using only handholds and footholds can seem scary. But even if you can’t do a single chin-up, you can try a climbing wall. Climbers always wear a safety harness. A partner on the other end of the rope is strapped in on the ground to keep any fall a short one. Climbing facilities will provide all the safety equipment and climbing shoes.
If you’re looking to stay grounded, then perhaps racquetball is for you. Racquetball uses almost every muscle in your body. Your heart rate stays high even when you stop between points. Finding a place to play should be easy. Courts are in nearly every YMCA, on many college campuses, and in many health clubs. Just be sure to protect your eyes with the correct eyewear when you play.
Most importantly, if you haven’t been exercising regularly, be sure to check with your health care provider before beginning a new exercise routine. Then try any of these alternative ways to exercise indoors and maintain your fitness over the winter months.
Ayotunde Adeyeri, M.D., FASMBS, is a board-certified and fellowship-trained laparoscopic, bariatric and general surgeon and medical director of the Institute for Weight Loss at Hackensack Meridian Health Raritan Bay Medical Center-Old Bridge. The Institute is accredited by the MBSAQIP as a Comprehensive Bariatric Center and provides individualized medical and surgical solutions and support for individuals seeking weight loss, including nutrition and lifestyle counseling. For more information or to attend a free bariatric surgery seminar, call 855-TIME-4-ME.
With locations in Perth Amboy and Old Bridge, New Jersey, Raritan Bay Medical Center delivers critical world-class healthcare services care to Monmouth and Middlesex County residents. As providers of first-class healthcare in the areas of stroke, cardiology, cancer, physical rehabilitation, pulmonary rehabilitation, pediatric medicine, Raritan Bay Medical Center continues to stay on the forefront of medicine.
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