Transitioning to Indoor Exercise for the Winter

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Last week on the blog, we talked about how it can be harder to get a healthy amount of vitamin D as the days get shorter and you are exposed to less sunlight. The shorter days can also make it a lot less appealing to get outside for your regular outdoor exercise routine. While a sunrise jog or an after-work walk might have been appealing when the days were warm, cooler winter temperatures and winter rains can keep you indoors. If cold weather strikes and you don’t have an alternative in mind, you might end up skipping your workout altogether.

As confront the realities of cold winter weather, it is important to have an indoor exercise plan you can stick to. The transition from outdoor to indoor exercise can sometimes be challenging, and the change may also put you at a higher risk of injury. Read on to learn more about indoor workout options and how you can ease the transition from outdoor to indoor exercise for the winter.

Option 1: Walking or Running on a Treadmill

Many outdoor fitness enthusiasts hate the idea of walking or running on the “dread”-mill, but there are actually a lot of ways to tailor a workout so that it is entirely tolerable. If you are a runner training for a race in the spring, you might keep yourself occupied by doing a “fartlek” workout where you change the speed of the treadmill over different time intervals. Similarly, you can keep from getting bored while walking on the treadmill by changing the incline. This simulates walking up hills of different grades, keeps your mind more engaged, and boosts the calorie burn of your workout!

It is important to note that running on a treadmill isn’t exactly the same as running on regular ground. Some runners and walkers notice that their gait changes when they are confined within the small space of the treadmill. Also, if you’re used to doing your daily workout on a soft surface, like grass or dirt, switching to the treadmill will put more stress on your joints than your body is used to.

Clearly, the changes associated with the transition to the treadmill can put you at risk of injury, but it’s not inevitable. Here are a few things you can do to avoid getting hurt during the transition period:

  • Getting a regular chiropractic adjustment can address any structural issues that arise when you start working out on the treadmill.
  • A deep tissue massage can help relax muscle tension that may arise when you start working out on an unfamiliar surface, and it can also help reduce any inflammation that may cause pain as you transition your workout to a new setting.
  • Running or walking on a treadmill can sometimes exacerbate the effects of abnormal foot motions, such as excessive pronation, so you may want to consider custom orthotics to help support a healthy gait and avoid pain.

Option 2: Yoga

Not only is yoga is a great way to support both your physical and mental health, but it is an ideal indoor workout for the winter. Yoga improves your strength and flexibility, and it can help you stay relaxed and centered during the chaos of the holiday season. There are also lots of different types of yoga to choose from, so you won’t have to worry that an indoor workout will become too boring.

However, if you haven’t been to a yoga class for the last few months, it can be hard to get back into the groove. You may feel awkward as you try to force your body into unfamiliar positions, wondering if your efforts are providing the fitness benefits you were hoping for. You may also find yourself comparing yourself to your more yoga-adept classmates at the gym, which can be distracting and even induce unnecessary anxiety.

To supplement your yoga class and smooth the transition to a regular indoor yoga workout, you may want to consider Thai massage. This massage modality is essentially an assisted yoga session in which the massage therapist moves your body through a series of poses. This can make your body more familiar with the poses you are trying in your yoga workout so that they come more naturally when you try to do them on your own. It can also be a lot less stressful to start your transition into yoga in an individualized massage therapy session, rather than in a group setting at the gym.

 

Staying healthy in winter can be a challenge, but Atlanta Chiropractic and Wellness is here to help. We offer a wide range of services — including chiropractic care, deep tissue massage, and Thai massage — that can support a smooth transition into your winter workout. Contact us today to learn more about our offerings!

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