Indoor workouts can complement outdoor, summer activities
Finally I’m starting to believe that we might actually experience summer. We’ve all had the extended winter, lack of spring/summer frustration lately. So, now that we finally have more than 18 hours of daylight and temperatures perking up into the normal ranges, it’s hard to imagine why we’d want to work out indoors.
I’m all for taking advantage of the long days and Alaska summers. We need the fresh air, warm sun and refreshing experiences that we find on the trails, on the lake, in the river and in the parks. These experiences, however, are enhanced when we use our indoor moments to their fullest potential.
What might require us to be inside? Well, we all know there will be a gray day or two when we simply are not excited to be outside. We’ll also have days with a shorter time for exercise where an indoor workout will give us more bang for our time-crunched buck. There also will be days when parents need a break from the kiddos (and vice versa) that can happen in the club environment when the kids get time in the play center and the parents get playtime in the fitness environment.
How do we make the most of the indoor environment? Here are some ways:
All movement should generate from the core. This keeps us in good alignment and brings the most energy or power to our movements. Include core conditioning for those indoor workouts. You’ll find core work in Pilates, yoga, TRX®, and BOSU® workouts, to name a few. These exercises will strengthen abdominals, obliques, back muscles, glutes and hamstrings, which are all key to movement/exercise performed outside.
Generally our outdoor activities address endurance (hiking, cycling, kayaking, running, etc.). The indoor environment is ideal for flexibility training (best done when muscles are warm). Allow your muscles to release and find their true length potential. Muscles commonly used in our outdoor activities that need flexibility training include: hamstrings, low back, glutes, hip flexors, calves, shoulders and traps.
Indoor cardio machines are well suited to intensity intervals. You don’t have to be concerned with traffic or other riders. In addition, the monitor will show you various aspects of your workout, such as time, distance, pace and resistance. For example, if cycling is your exercise of choice in the summer, use your indoor cycle workouts to improve upon the power in your pedal stroke. Keep your cadence (revolutions per minute) steady and in an interval fashion, add resistance while keeping your cadence the same. You can pick the interval ratio that works best for you. After a warm-up period, start with one minute hard and two minutes easier. Imagine the “hard” part is cycling into a head wind or going up a hill. The “easy” part is flat road with no wind. Training your legs and cardiovascular systems to work with more power will translate to stronger cycling adventures out on the trail. You can perform similar intervals on a rowing machine to improve your rowing or kayaking experiences.
Music is energy
If you’re staying safe and smart in your outdoor workouts, you’re listening to nature, road sounds, your friends, etc. Indoor workouts are the time to let the music crank you up. Put together a playlist of your favorite songs and let the music move you to work hard but hardly know you’re working.
Simply using our muscles in a variety of ways maximizes energy and excitement, and minimizes injury and boredom. So, all you runners, hit the pool for some laps, and let the water rejuvenate your muscles. All you kayakers, jump into a Zumba class and get your groove on. All you triathletes, take in a yoga class for flexibility training. Train your muscles using a variety of methods and keep them happy by avoiding overuse in any one given activity.
Our best summer plan will include outdoor activities and indoor workouts to keep us strong, flexible and excited for our fitness adventures.
Janet Warner is general manager of Fitness Services at The Alaska Club and a certified personal trainer.