Six Treadmill Survival Strategies For Indoor Winter Workouts

Summer's over. Back to the dreadmill.

Summer’s Over.  It’s Back To The Dreadmill

This was my first morning to run indoors after being in the great outdoors since early spring.  The first mile on the dreadmill felt slow and was painfully dull.  I had forgotten how hard it is to stay motivated running in place, knowing that you’re not going anywhere.

But, there are some things we can do enhance the workout that will get us through until spring.

  1.  Decrease Your Distance Goal. I’m guessing most people have trouble logging miles on a treadmill compared to being outdoors.  Drop the mileage goal back to where it is bearable so you’ll actually be able to motivate yourself to do it.  If you usually run six miles outdoors, shoot for four instead.  Supplement the rest of the workout with other exercises.  Which brings me to . . . . .
  2. Mix Up The Cardio.  Switch to an elliptical or stationary bike for a portion of the workout.  Not only will you use different muscles in a different way, you’ll provide your brain some variety too.
  3. Climb  An Imaginary Hill.  If you’re doing six miles outdoors and decide to do only four on the treadmill, you can increase the intensity of the workout by adding hills or speed intervals.  Most, if not all, treadmills have a program specifically for this purpose or you can set your own.  The cardio burst you get from the intervals will help you use the calories the extra two miles you’ve given up would have burned.
  4. Work More On Your Muscles – Winter is a good time to start a strength training program that will increase muscle mass, bone density and overall metabolic rate.  People that love to do cardio often times don’t seek the benefits that a strength training program can provide.  Remember that additional muscle strength will improve your overall ability to cover ground once you get back outside.
  5. Take A Group Fitness Class.  If you’ve never taken a Turbo Kick, Body Pump, boot camp or Pilates class, it might be time to get out of the comfort zone and experience what people have been raving about for years.  In most cases, you’ll get a total body workout plus it’s fun to take a break from planning your own workouts every day.  In a group class, the instructor charts the course.
  6. Join A Winter Rec League.  Volleyball, basketball, indoor soccer, bowling all can be a fun change from the gym routine.  While you might not get the calorie burn you get from exercising alone, you’ll have an opportunity to get recharged mentally and meet new people.  Check the local YMCA or park district’s brochure to find the offerings in your area.

Whatever you decide to do to transition from a outdoor summer workout program to a indoor winter one, the mental advantage may be as valuable as the physical one.  By the time spring is here you’ll be craving outdoor running and have the motivation to take it to the next level.