8 Indoor Activities To Help You Keep Fit This Winter
There are precious few months between the all-you-can-eat buffet evenings of the holiday season and the lean, swimsuit days of summer. What’s worse, the winter has a way of trying to keep you indoors, keep you from staying active and fit. What is the average person to do between the beginning of the New Year and the dawn of summer?
The answer is pretty simple: head indoors. Rather than try to keep the same outdoor running regimen you have in the summer, or biking to work, start viewing winter as a great time to explore the wide world of indoor activity.
From conventional sports like basketball and squash, to more “unorthodox” activities like axe throwing and rock climbing, there are plenty of ways to stay fit in the winter… without braving the cold.
Many YMCA centres and other gyms offer pick-up basketball throughout the winter. If your shot is a little rusty, you can always book time at the court to practice your skills before you play with others. Either way, you are getting a great indoor workout – a mix of aerobic and cardio exercise, which also helps you improve your coordination and balance.
The most gentlemanly (or gentlewomanly, of course!) of the indoor sports, what fencing lacks in aerobic exercise, it more than makes up for in balance training and proprioception. It is a sport of grace and elegance, but after a long training bout under that beekeepers outfit – which is actually just a number pieces of safety equipment – you will be feeling the burn.
The new kid on the block, axe throwing is the undoubtedly the most fun entry on this list. But don’t let that fool you: axe throwing makes for a terrific core workout, and it tones your arms and shoulders as well. BATL (the Backyard Axe Throwing League) has locations all over North America, and getting started couldn’t be simpler: just stop by your local BATL location and inquire about either joining a league or holding an axe throwing party with friends.
If you are the kind of person who needs a challenge to overcome, and a clear goal to achieve, indoor rock climbing might be the perfect winter workout. The aim is to scale the walls of the rock climbing facility, using nothing but your own strength and problem-solving abilities. As a little added bonus, rock climbing burns between 500 and 900 calories per hour!
It takes a few tries before you really pick it up, but once you do squash can be quite addicting. It puts your range of motion, coordination and stamina to the test, as you flex, reach, run and swing. It’s best to find a squash partner in advance – an acquaintance, perhaps, who is equally committed to staying fit this winter – but in a pinch you can usually find fellow players at the rec centre.
You don’t have to actually fight to enjoy the immense health benefits of boxing. In fact, training centres and classes that emphasize the fitness side of boxing over its fighting side have popped up increasingly this past year. Boxing is an all-body workout, sculpting pretty much every muscle and burning tons of calories. Oh, and if you have any carryover stress from the holidays, boxing is a great way to relieve the tension.
What may seem at first like a quaint, northern sport is in fact a game of great strategy, poise and – yes – physical demand. You won’t be able to find a curling rink everywhere, (many of the southern states are out of luck on this one), but if you can, try it out. The game is easy to pick up and can be a great form of interval training. Check out this article from the Cut, which details the health benefits of curling – you’ll be surprised!
Swimming is one of the choose-your-own-adventures of the fitness world. You can go for a leisurely swim and barely burn anything, or you can swim laps and burn a load of calories. Either way, you get a great low-impact workout, perfect for people with joint conditions or those recovering from an accident. Learn a few different strokes so you can vary your swim.
It can be tempting to want to lock yourself indoors during the winter and hibernate. Don’t let the cold keep you from staying fit – try one of these amazing indoor activities, and get a major head start on swimsuit season!