You’re not imagining it. Winter still isn’t over. There’s no daylight when your alarm clock goes off, you’ve logged more miles than you’d like to count on the dreadmill, and — duh — it’s really cold out there. It’s no surprise that any motivation to get outdoors and work up a sweat has gone the way of the groundhog and buried itself until spring. But don’t let the season be an excuse to stray from those resolutions and lose your workout mojo. We’ve rounded up our favorite calorie-busting workouts that can be done indoors to get through these final weeks of winter. And who knows — you might even find a workout you’ll want to do all year long.
1. Ride it out. So the idea of wiping out on black ice or feeling the cold breeze freeze your face while bike riding isn’t appealing? Spin class might be for you. These intense indoor cycling classes can burn up to hundreds of calories and keep bones strong Self-reported recreational exercise combining regularity and impact is necessary to maximize bone mineral density in young adult women: a population-based study of 1,061 women 25 years of age. Callreus, M, McGuigan, F, Ringsberg, K, et. al. Department of Orthopaedics, Lund University, Skane University Hospital, Malmo, Sweden. Osteoporosis International. 2012 Oct;23(10):2517-26. doi: 10.1007/s00198-011-1886-5. Epub 2012 Jan 13.. Interval-based rides will also strengthen the butt, thighs, calves, and even the core. No helmet necessary.
2. Lap it up. It’s never too early to dig up that swimsuit. Head to your gym or community center’s indoor pool to get in a few solid swims before summer hits. This low-impact exercise lets athletes exercise longer without excess muscle strain, and might even beat yoga when it comes to improving breathing technique Immersion in warm water induces improvement in cardiac function in patients with chronic heart failure. Cider, A, Syealy, BG, Tang, MS, et. al. Department of Cardiology, Cardiovascular institute, Sahlgrenska University, Goteborg, Sweden. European Journal of Heart Failure. 2006 May;8(3):308-13. Epub 2005 Oct 26. A comparative study of the effects of yoga and swimming on pulmonary functions in sedentary subjects. Gupta, Ss, Sawane, MV. Department of Physiology, VN GMC, Yeotmal, Maharashtra, India. International Journal of Yoga. 2012 Jul;5(2):128-33. doi: 10.4103/0973-6131.98232.. Bonus: An improved mood, and a leaner physique to boot Mood alteration with yoga and swimming: aerobic exercise may not be necessary. Berger, BG, Owen, DR. Department of Physical Education, Brooklyn College, City University of New York. Perceptual and Motor Skills. 1992 Dec;75(3 Pt 2):1331-43..
3. Resistance train. No need to venture outside — a gym isn’t required for these 50 bodyweight exercises, guaranteed to improve strength and endurance with just body resistance alone. Try this 30-minute workout, complete with high-intensity supersets, to get a heart-pumping resistance workout without any dumbbells, machines, or plates.
4. Hit a wall. An indoor rock climbing wall, that is. This non-traditional cardio workout really hits the mark for those who want to exercise their mental strength (what happens to my legs if my arms go here?). But it’s about physical prowess as well — scaling indoor walls will increase heart rates and torch up to 650 calories per hour Physiological responses to indoor rock-climbing and their relationship to maximal cycle ergometry. Sheel, AW, Seddon, N, Knight, A, et. al. School of Human Kinetics, The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise. 2003 Jul;35(7):1225-31.. Not only does it work the arm muscles, it activates the legs, back, and shoulders as well. Cue the bragging rights once you’ve reach the top!
5. Lace up. Ice skating isn’t just for kids. If it’s too cold for outdoor skating to be fun, head to your local indoor rink to carve up the ice. Aside from being super fun, skating tones the legs, core, and butt, along with smaller, stabilizing muscles that assist with balance and coordination. At a moderate pace, ice skating also burns about 500 calories per hour (and that’s not counting those bonus points for jumps and spins!).
6. Just dance. Though barre-based workouts hit the States in the 70s, it wasn’t until the past few years that they skyrocketed in popularity — and with good reason. The ballet-inspired moves combine elements of yoga, Pilates, and weight training to lengthen and tone muscles. And guys, don’t be shy. While the moves generally use just bodyweight and the barre, you’ll be surprised at just how challenging the classes can be. No studios nearby? DVDs like Physique 57 Classic 56 Minute Full Body Workout or The Bar Method’s Change Your Body Workout can be great at-home alternatives (just substitute a chair for the barre).
7. Drop and give us 10. Still looking to kick-start those fitness goals? A boot camp workout might be the right fit. Inspired by military training, these booty-busting sessions combine strength training moves with high-intensity cardio to deliver a serious full-body workout. While many boot camps are conducted at local parks or track fields, many have indoor options, particularly in the winter. Before committing to a longer series, consider test-driving a boot camp-inspired class at your local gym or community center first.
8. Get your gloves up. Make like Rocky and get to a kick-butt boxing class. A few rounds in the ring provide a full-body workout as you duck, block, and throw punches. And because the moves focus on cardio and conditioning to keep stamina up in the ring, you’ll tone muscles rather than bulking up. The winning card: Technique is more important than experience, so it’s OK to be a newbie.
9. Zen out. Give your mind and body a workout with yoga. Believed to reduce stress, anxiety, and fatigue, yoga also improves strength and flexibility through a variety of asanas (or poses). It’s also an ideal indoor cross-training activity for more cardio-intense activities like running. From Vinyasa flow to hot and sweaty Bikram yoga, there’s a style to suit just about anyone’s needs and interests.
10. Slow your roll. Combining martial arts moves with slow motions and deep breathing techniques, tai chi is a low-impact exercise with its roots in ancient China. According to Chinese philosophy, tai chi helps balance yin and yang, opposing forces that need to be kept in check. Lucky for us, it has also been found to improve cardiovascular health, reduce stress and anxiety, and improve balance. Get started at a class to learn proper forms before continuing practice on your own.
11. Carve the core. If you want to define your core and increase flexibility, strength training through Pilates is a great option. The moves, which can be modified to fit any fitness level, are designed to condition the body (with an emphasis on the core) and improve balance. Feeling a little more adventurous? Take your Pilates mat skills to the Reformer, a machine that will really put that strength, balance, and coordination to the test.
12. Jump on it. Unleash the kid in you and hop to the nearest trampoline. This bouncy childhood favorite is the latest fitness craze, and not just because it’s super fun. Just six minutes of cardio moves on a trampoline is the equivalent to running, oh, about a mile. And thanks to the trampoline’s low-impact cushioning, joints are protected as you jump up and down. Try a local trampoline class or visit a trampoline park like Sky Zone to bust a move.
13. Dodge balls. As in, play a game of dodgeball. A gym class favorite, the game is a fun way to get moving with a group of friends. It’s not all fun and games, though. Dodgeball delivers a surprisingly good cardio workout, moving in all planes of motion as you duck and fly over your opponent’s strikes. After a few vigorous games, you might find yourself more sore than expected — hopefully not from a ball to the forehead (ouch!).
14. Get fast and furious. If you haven’t tried plyometrics, get ready for an intense workout with seemingly simple moves. Plyometrics workouts incorporate explosive movements like tuck jumps, jumping jacks, and single-leg hops to improve cardio endurance and strength Effects of plyometric training on explosive strength, acceleration capacity and kicking speed in young elite soccer players.Sedano, S, Matheu, A, Redondo, JC, et. al. Faculty of Sports Sciences, European University, Miguel de Cervantes, Valladolid, Spain. The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness. 2011 Mar;51(1):50-8. Improving the Q:H strength ratio in women using plyometric exercises. Tsang, KK, DiPasquale, AA. Department of Kinesiology, California State University, Fullerton, Fullerton, California. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. 2011 Oct;25(10):2740-5. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e31820d9e95.. Just remember: Our bodies adapt to challenging workouts faster than you’d think, so be sure to keep switching up that plyo routine. For a great at-home option, check out the Insanity Workouts.
15. Shoot hoops. No need to wait until summer to make like Mike (or LeBron, that is). Engaging in a friendly (or not-so-friendly) game of indoor hoops can burn more than 600 calories per hour. Running full-court can also improve your athletic endurance, not to mention balance and coordination as you play hard D and put up some shots. And while a full-on 5 v. 5 game is always fun, you only need one other person to get the stakes up (and earn those bragging rights). What’s not to love?
16. Soc-it to me. Don’t relegate soccer to a warmer weather-only sport. When it’s too cold to get outdoors, indoor soccer is a solid option for kicking out your frustrations and working up a sweat. And the benefits are worth it: Soccer means crazy good cardio, plus some sneaky core work with every pass, shot, and corner kick. Studies show the world’s favorite sport can also improve oxygen uptake (a measure of cardiovascular fitness) in adult athletes, and help with balance, too. Score!
17. Kick it up a notch. It’s a full body workout, a stress reducer, a self-defense class, and flexibility workshop. No, folks, this isn’t a magic pill. It’s the power of kickboxing. Combining karate-style kicking with boxing punches, kickboxing takes the best of both worlds to give your upper and lower body a kick-ass workout. It burns about 750 calories an hour, and the emphasis on core movements will help tone the body as well. And if you’re ever in a situation where you need to throw a punch or two, kickboxing’s got you covered.
18. Start swinging. Who knew swinging cast iron could reap such huge benefits in so little time? If you want to combine strength training and cardio workouts into one effective, calorie-blasting workout, pick up a set of kettlebells. One recent study found that, in a 20-minute workout, participants were burning about 20 calories per minute — the equivalent of running a 6-minute mile pace. Ready to get saved by the bell? Check out these 22 kick-ass exercises to get started.
19. Row it out. Turns out those rowers at the gym are onto something. Each rowing stroke can be broken down into a leg press, a dead lift, and a row (how’s that for a full-body workout?). And though you’re stationary, since all the muscles are working at once, that heart rate shoots up just as fast. Not up for rowing solo? Rowing classes can torch up to 1,200 calories in just one hour-long session. Plus, the resistance is created by how hard you push or pull, so the intensity level is up to you.
20. Get some hang time. Lifting weights is hard work. But using your own bodyweight to perform challenging moves, all while suspended from different angles? Welcome to TRX. A favorite among Navy SEALs, the portable suspension trainer works the whole body, including the core, and does it all while you fight against gravity. Exercises can be modified depending on your fitness level, making it a worthwhile investment no matter what your fitness level is. If you’re not ready to purchase your own system, check out local gyms for TRX classes and trainers.
What’s been your favorite indoor workout this winter? And what are you stoked to try? Tell us in the comments below, or tweet the author directly at @Kissie326.