The cold winter months are arriving, and as such you might find that you avoid going outside as much. Maybe it’s harder to get out of bed for your morning jog, or you simply decide to take the bus rather than cycling into work. Unsurprisingly, this can have a negative impact on your health.
Luckily, you don’t need to hit the running track or the football pitch to stay fit during the winter; there are plenty of exercise options you can do indoors. Here are four of the best options for all-round strength and conditioning, including one you can do at home with no equipment needed.
If you and a friend are interested in conquering your fear of heights and getting some great exercise together, head to an indoor rock-climbing wall. Not only is this an incredibly fun activity, it’s also taxing for your whole body. You will leave having had a good time and a tough workout.
While many people think rock climbing is only good for upper-body strength, it actually works your entire body. As well as the power and endurance you’ll build scaling the walls, you’ll also develop flexibility and dexterity from trying to grab the trickier holds. It’s good cardio as well; altogether it can burn around 700 calories an hour.
If the idea of being up that high is too nerve-wracking for you, you can always give bouldering a try. This is a form of climbing on smaller walls, where the idea is to challenge yourself with a large number of small climbs and complicated routes rather than scaling large walls.
Getting in the water for a swim at an indoor pool is one of the best ways to stay in shape, and during the winter it’s a great way to stay warm. If you’re a regular runner, this is a good option to avoid losing a step during winter, as it will keep your cardio in tip-top condition throughout the colder months.
Swimming is great for your health for a number of reasons. First and foremost, you can’t just stop for a rest or you’d sink. You have to be constantly moving, which is good, taxing cardio work. In fact, it’s thought that swimming helps your body develop to utilise oxygen more efficiently as well, boosting your overall endurance.
It also works underused muscles for most people, as you move completely differently in the water than you do on dry land. You’ll be giving your shoulders and upper back a workout, as well as your core muscles, which stabilise you in the water. If you find yourself aching after your first swim, this is why!
Squash and badminton
For another type of indoor sport that also happens to be a great social activity, look no further than squash and badminton. Whichever you choose will be taxing exercise in a competitive indoor environment; perfect for those of you who want to test their skill as well as keeping fit.
Swinging your racquet will work your arm, core and back muscles, while running round the court is great exercise for your legs. The whole thing will test your cardio as well. More specifically, hitting the ball or shuttlecock will improve your hand-eye co-ordination and reflexes as you react quickly to make each shot.
These sports will also benefit your mental health. All exercise helps with stress management and relaxation, as it releases endorphins which put you in a positive mood. However, competitive sports like these also have a social aspect to them, as you will need to join a group or league in order to play.
Of course, if there’s nothing that can get you out of your warm home on a cold winter morning, you could always try a workout in your living room. If you’re careful about what exercises you choose, you won’t need any kind of special equipment; just some space and clothes you don’t mind getting sweaty.
There are all sorts of exercises to choose from that just use your bodyweight. You’re probably familiar with pushups, crunches and squats, but you should also become familiar with planks, burpees and tricep dips as well. If there’s a sturdy doorframe about your house, you can even use it as a pull-up bar.
Looking online, you will find plenty of different routines, but one that is a decent starting point is the ten-to-one workout.
This simply involves three exercises that work every muscle in your body: a jumping squat, a pull-up and a tricep dip. Perform a set of ten reps of each exercise without resting, then repeat that with nine reps for each set, then eight, all the way down to one. It’s harder than it sounds, but it’s effective.