Your Indoor Cardio Guide

Published: May 31st, 2013 |
Author: Angela Munasque

Beat winter’s chill and blast some calories!

Brrr, it’s getting cold outside! While I love my outdoor cardio, chillier weather and wintry precipitation often force me inside at this time of year. If you’re in a comparable climate, check out these three ways to take your workout indoors.

Traditional Treadmill
Here’s a secret: I used to be intimidated by the treadmill. I was always worried that I would have a misstep and fall flat on my face. But as one of the most ubiquitous pieces of gym equipment, treadmills are often easier to snag than a free elliptical or stationary bike. And if you’re not a runner, they are great for walking too.

If you haven’t used a treadmill before, start with walking to get used to the surface and “feel” of the machine. Then, walk, jog, or run for 20 to 30 minutes at a steady pace. Once you feel comfortable with the apparatus and ready to advance, you can increase the speed to go a little faster or the incline to simulate hills. The key: Do it incrementally so you know you can handle it and to ease any fears of flying off accidentally!

Cardio Machine Mix
My coworker Nina, who previously shared her running tips (and whips up some fantastic recipes), says that her biggest problem with indoor cardio is that even when you’re moving, you’re stationary. “To beat feeling like a hamster on a wheel,” she incorporates different machines into one workout. Experienced exercisers who want a longer routine will like this:

Time – Machine, Intensity
5 minutes – treadmill, jog
10 minutes – treadmill, mile pace (7:30)
10 minutes – elliptical, moderate
10 minutes – treadmill, mile pace (7:30)
10 minutes – elliptical, moderate
5 minutes – stationary bike, low resistance

Machine-Free Options
The bright side of indoor cardio: You have so many choices! If you’re not into the machines, no problem. If you are, know you have alternatives to keep things fresh and challenge your body. Nina switches up her workouts with swimming and climbing. I have a few friends who love fitness dance or Zumba classes, or following a dance DVD at home. Me? I'm a fan of moves I can do anywhere, like Mountain Climbers or the old-fashioned version of a stairclimber—I just find a set of stairs, then hoof it up and down.

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Related Links:
Tips for a Safe Heated Workout
Are You Using The Right Dumbbells?
Fit Tips for Busy Moms

Keywords: cardio, fitness