Between the fresh air, natural scenery and low cost, it’s tough to beat going for a run or to bike ride outdoors. Unfortunately rainy days can put a damper on your usual routine. However, that doesn’t mean you have to skip out on your workout altogether. There are plenty of indoor activities that can energize your body and increase your heart rate. A break from your usual exercise routine can also help you find a new, fun activity to work into your regular exercise program.
Try one of the cardio exercise machines at the gym, such as the treadmill, elliptical, stationary bike, rowing machine and stair-stepper. If you are used to gazing at fresh flowers and green trees during your run, the repetitive and mechanical nature of a treadmill may seem unappealing at first. However, you can energize the workout session by using one of the preset programs that most treadmills provide. The programs vary, depending on make and model, but many will allow you to run up and down hills while also varying your pace throughout the session.
Attend a group exercise class, such as cardio dance or cardio kickboxing. Along with getting your heart rate going and blood pumping, group classes give you a chance to work out with your friends – or possibly to meet new people.
Locate an indoor pool at your gym, community center or local university. Vigorously swimming laps can burn between 300 and 444 calories in 30 minutes, depending on your weight, according to Harvard Health Publications. Mix up your workout by changing strokes every five laps. Cool down at the end of the session with two to three laps of gentle kicking with a kickboard.
Stay at home and use an exercise video to guide your workout. DVDs exist for numerous types of cardio workouts, including aerobics, cardio kickboxing, jump roping and dance. Select a video that is appropriate for your fitness level, as well as your accommodations. If you choose cardio kickboxing, for example, make sure you have ample space to move around and perform the various kicks without damaging any vases, artwork or other home décor elements.
Give exer-gaming a try. Exer-gaming systems are video games and consoles that require you to physically participate in the game. Some consoles mimic a specific sport, such as tennis, while others allow you to be part of an actual video game. The cost for exer-gaming consoles can be higher than other forms of indoor activities; prices vary depending on manufacturer. However, the systems offer a fun, and indoor, alternative to traditional workouts.
Beth Rifkin has been writing health- and fitness-related articles since 2005. Her bylines include "Tennis Life," "Ms. Fitness," "Triathlon Magazine," "Inside Tennis" and others. She holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from Temple University.