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Taking Your Outdoor Workout Indoors

By Donna Stark

Well, the groundhog predicted an early spring this year, but for some parts of the country, it seems that the cold weather doesn't want to say goodbye. Snowstorm after snowstorm, rainy days, and icy mornings ... winter certainly isn't a great friend to those who like to exercise outdoors, is it? In fact, it can actually be quite discouraging to those who prefer to walk and run under the sun more than they do under those fluorescent lights at the local gym. It's always nicer to be outdoors, but sometimes it just doesn't work out that way. Sometimes our walks and jogs have to happen while being surrounded by four walls, but that's OK because as long as you know how to take advantage a treadmill's benefits, you will still be able to get a great workout in.

Working the Treadmill

You may not get the fresh, crisp air or the extra dose of Vitamin D, but working out indoors has its benefits too! And a lot of those benefits come from using a treadmill. So go ahead and let Mother Nature have her weather. Your workout is going to be just fine. Here's why.

  • A treadmill can simulate natural obstacles (steep hills, gradual inclines) whenever you want them
  • Negative outdoor conditions, such as pollution, weather, and traffic can be avoided
  • If you are in front of a mirror, you can keep an eye on your form
  • It is easier to maintain a consistent speed on a treadmill
  • You can keep track of vital information such as mileage, heart rate, and speed
  • The surface of a treadmill may be easier on your joints
  • You have access to restrooms

Pushing Yourself

It's easy to  let your mind wander into la-la land while on the treadmill, so be mindful of that. Maximize your efforts and keep your workout interesting by challenging yourself with the following tips.

  • Don't use the handrails
  • Maintain proper form
  • Increase and decrease the incline and your speed throughout your workout
  • Use the interval option and add some sprints
  • Try new "moves" like side shuffles, walking lunges, and a backward hike

Staying Safe

You may think you are immune from getting hurt because you are indoors and out of the elements, but think again! The treadmill is a machine with moving parts, so you still need to practice plenty of safety! Choose your settings before stepping on the moving belt, stay focused on what you are there for, and be realistic with the workout level you choose.

The treadmill may not be your first choice, but it is a great way to beat Mother Nature's wrath and still get your workout in. Besides, if you believe the groundhog's prediction, it's only for a few more short weeks. 

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Brookfield, Wis.

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