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Feature Stories

Making indoor workouts work

Making indoor workouts work

Many people sink deeper into their easy chairs each winter. Just the thought of going outside to exercise can be discouraging when it's chilly outdoors. But you can still stay fit and avoid sitting on the sidelines by trying indoor variations of the three kinds of exercise everyone needs – aerobics, strength training, and flexibility/balance training.

Here's a simple guide you can use to get started in each area.

Aerobic exercise

You can add exercise to your day – inside – most days of the week.

Move to your favorite music or invest in an exercise machine, such as a treadmill, elliptical trainer, or stationary bike.

To save money, buy a used machine or attach a stand to your regular bicycle to convert it into a stationary bike. You can also climb up and down the stairs if your house and office have them. (Reminder: Be sure to use the hand railings. Nasty spills can occur before you know it.)

Strength training

Aim for a short workout three times weekly. Especially at first, don't overdo it.

  • Try rising from a chair – without using your arms – to boost leg strength.
  • Work your arm and leg muscles with stretchy, resistance bands.
  • Consider buying inexpensive dumbbells (or use soup cans) to incorporate weight lifting into your routine.

Flexibility and balance training

Take a yoga or tai chi class at a local gym, community center, or hospital. Or, if you prefer, learn these techniques from a DVD or book.

Remember to warm your muscles up with moderate exercise before stretching. Avoid twisting your torso too much or locking your knees when you stretch.

If you haven't been active in a long time or you have a serious health problem, you should get your doctor's OK before starting an exercise routine. In fact, this is a good idea even if you think you're in pretty good shape!