Springfield physical therapists offer some fitness alternatives to help you stay active in the cold months ahead

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With each passing week, as we rapidly approach the official start of winter, you can sure count on the temperature dropping further and further below the point of comfort. Of the many effects of this change, one stands above the rest: the desire to be outside for as little time as possible. While this is only natural, it may come at a cost for all those trying to stay fit who lose much of their motivation on account of the weather status. But all should not be lost. There are plenty of indoor physical activity alternatives that can carry you through the winter, and our Springfield physical therapists want to help you find some options that work well for you.

For those who actually experience the drastic effects of seasonal changes, winter can be seen as a massive wrench that’s thrown in the spokes of each person’s fitness regimen.

You may have spent months establishing a weekly exercise routine—with running, biking, hiking and/or other outdoor activities—that has worked for you and kept you on your toes, but then the chill of fall came and made it increasingly difficult to stick with your plan. While some people can brave the frost unfazed, many of us struggle to continue our usual routine during the frigid months, and our fitness levels may fall off as a result.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. Rather than put your fitness on hold or abandon your plan altogether, why not see this time as an opportunity shift your energy indoors and try out new forms of physical activity? Going to the gym is an obvious choice, but there are many other options as well. Best of all, if you really enjoy any of these activities, you can continue doing them and incorporate them into your warm-weather routine once the temperature thaws. Below, our Springfield physical therapists present some of our favorite indoor activity options for the winter:

Indoor winter activities from Springfield physical therapists

  • Rock climbing: works out many muscle groups in both the upper and lower body, including fingers, shoulders, arms, back, abdominal and leg muscles; regular climbing is also effective for improving stamina, strength, flexibility and agility
  • Indoor cycling: great high-intensity replacement for running; targets quadriceps and shin muscles; can be performed on a road bike placed on a training stand, a stationary bike or in a spinning class
  • Stair running: if you can’t run outside and you live in multi-floored building, stair running is a great high-intensity alternative that’s good for cardio and working out your leg muscles; try doing intervals with different floors to add intensity
  • Walk indoors: if your exercise regimen consisted primarily of walking, find some indoor spaces like malls or shopping centers to continue your routine
  • Swimming: non-weight-bearing and therefore ideal for anyone that’s injured or sore; targets all major muscle groups (quadriceps, abs, hamstrings, back, etc.), and is a wonderful blend of stretching, strengthening and cardiovascular work
  • Pool running: or “deep-water running,” this performance cross training takes pool activity to a more intense level and is great for runners; it should be performed with an AquaJogger or similar floatation belt for the deeper water
  • Yoga/Pilates/boot camp: now is a perfect time to get involved in one of these activities if you’ve been putting it off for a while; each offers its own unique set of benefits that can keep you strong and fit during these brisk months
  • Home-exercise programs: between DVDs and the internet, it’s easy to find indoor aerobic routines to do in the comfort of your home, which can pay off when you have limited space; you can incorporate weights, resistance bands and other equipment into your program for a great full-body workout

Don’t let the chilly weather get the better of you this winter. Try out some of our indoor fitness alternatives to figure out which ones work best for you, and formulate a new game plan to conquer the cold months of the year. If you need further assistance or additional exercise suggestions, our Springfield physical therapists can help. Contact ARS Hand & Physical Therapy at 973-379-7006 to schedule an appointment today, or click here for more information on exercising indoors during the winter.