By Jeff Galloway
I love running outside. But
winter weather can sometimes make outdoor running nearly
impossible. Like when a 20-mile-per-hour wind combines
with a cold rain or when an ice storm had left most of the
roads unwalkable, and most certainly, unrunable.
Still, I never call it quits.
Instead, I take my exercise indoors.
Since bad weather usually
strikes around this time of year, I’ve given some
thought to four favorite indoor workouts. Some seem
admittedly, well, goofy. Still, if it gets you heart rate
up, it’s better than sitting on the couch. Here they
are, in order of importance.
Water running. One of the best
forms of indoor cross-training, running in the pool
simulates running on land, which keeps your leg muscles
and cardiovascular system in shape. The water resistance
also eliminates inefficient motions of your feet and legs,
which will improve your future runs out of the pool.
Use an area of the pool that is
at least 5 feet deep so you legs can move freely without
hitting the bottom. To keep yourself afloat, a floatation
belt or vest works best.
Then run in place. Make sure
you kick each leg out in front of you as it comes forward,
just as you do when running on land. Try speeding up and
slowing down your stride like an interval workout. Sprint
for 20 or 30 seconds, then slow down to rest and so on.
Cross-country skiing. During
the winter, some lucky runners use ski trails in the
woods. The rest of us can benefit from indoor
cross-country ski machines. Second only to aquajogging (in
my opinion), cross-country skiing, whether indoors or out,
can keep you in shape and provide a cardiovascular
Different Brands of indoor
machines offer different features. Some machines allow you
to adjust the incline and the resistance for more
variations. Before buying one, do a test run at the store
or ask for a 30-day trial period.
Mall or gym running. Large
convention centers, schools, malls, and other buildings
often contain the next-best think to an outdoor road. Long
hallways, rooms with enough space to run in large circlds,
or even indoor tracks. Check with the public buidings near
your work or home to see if they allow you to walk or run
inside. Some malls also allow walking or running during
the early morning hours. This gives you a chance to window
shop as you run.
Moving to music. Even if you
don’t own a piece of exercise equipment and the roads
are closeed (so you can’t get to the pool, gym or mall),
you can still get in a good workout. Put on an energizing
CD, tape, or music video and simply move around the room.
Walk at first to get your
muscles warmed up. Then run in place and jump a little.
Dance around. Move here and there. Throw in some moves
from aerobic class. Walk up and down stairs. Skip rope.
Hurdle pillows. Mix in some weight training (with
dumbbells), sit-ups and pushups. If you have a piece of
exercise equipment, such as a treadmill, use it in 5-to-10
minute segments and alternate it with your other
exercises. If you make it run, 20 or 30 minutes will pass