If you like to run, cycle or walk outside, it can be hard to stay active when the temperature drops and daylight hours dwindle. Even if gyms aren’t your jam, there are still numerous ways to exercise during the darker, colder months. Try these indoor workout ideas to avoid the cold weather and stay fit year-round.
Get Into Yoga
If you’ve never tried it or never committed to a class, winter is a great time to give yoga a shot. Besides toning your muscles and increasing flexibility, yoga can help you manage stress — especially important during the busyness of the holiday season. If you’re a beginner, find a basic gym class or instructional video to start.
Hit the Mall
Nope, not for shopping — for walking. Malls are fantastic venues for walking miles and miles, and some malls even open early to accommodate walkers before stores open or arrange walking groups to help people commit and stay motivated. Think outside the mall, too. Any large public building can serve the same purpose, and if you live in a city that has an indoor skywalk system, use it.
You can try Zumba, NIA (neuromuscular integrated action), Latin, hip-hop, jazz — there are so many different dance types that you’re almost certain to find one you like. Take group lessons, turn weekly classes into date nights with your partner or dance along to an instructional video at home. Dance gets your whole body moving, engaging muscles you never knew you had. Plus, dancing is just straight-up fun — a great winter workout that might make you forget you’re exercising.
Turn TV Time Into Go Time
If you watch TV or stream online programs several evenings a week, use the commercial breaks or pause between episodes to your advantage. Do squats, lunges, crunches, jumping jacks or simply march briskly in place. Throughout an hour-long show, several five-minute stints add up to a decent amount of exercise.
Put Away the Credit Card
Don’t purchase treadmills, elliptical trainers and other big-ticket exercise machines for your home. Gym-caliber equipment is expensive, and many cheaper models can be poor quality, unstable and even dangerous because they lack proper safety features. Besides, most people who purchase home equipment don’t end up using it. If you favor a treadmill, stair-stepper or other standard exercise machine for indoor workouts, you’re better off joining a fitness center.
Shake up Your Cardio
If you typically run or bike outdoors, use the off-season to diversify your routine. Try new types of cardio like swimming or dance — plus strength training — to give overused muscles a break and engage lesser used ones. Variety is key to whole-body fitness, and it helps keep exercise interesting. Two or three weeks before you plan to resume your regular outdoor runs or rides, switch your focus back to those specific exercises by running on a treadmill or using a stationary bike at the gym to prime your body.