Considering the colder temperatures as of late, I’m sure those of you that regularly exercise or train outdoors have already started to think about making the transition indoors once the weather really gets nasty. For some, this can be easy, but for others, training indoors can become a major struggle during the long winter months. This article will focus on some useful training tips one can employ to avoid injury, hopefully keep things interesting and avoid the monotony of the winter doldrums.

First, you want to make sure you make the transition smoothly and gradually. While you still may be exercising outside you may want to start to incorporate a workout or two indoors. Especially for runners, a change in surface and can wreak havoc with your ankle, knee and hip joints. If the change in impact and ground reaction forces occurs too drastically, your muscles will likely respond by developing such things as tendonitis, overuse strains or shin splints. If you continue to run through the initial discomfort, the pain will likely get worse to the point that you can’t walk without pain. These types of problems can easily be avoided by initially keeping the frequency of indoor running low, then gradually increasing these parameters until you have met your outdoor levels. A key point to remember is that running on the treadmill or indoor track is much different than running outdoors. You may have to work a little harder on this device as you are taking out such environmental factors as wind, sturdier ground and changes in terrain.

Choosing various activities that you enjoy to participate indoors is important as well. If you hate running on a treadmill, then why choose to do it? There are several indoor aerobic options such as the stairclimber, upper body ergometer and elliptical trainer to name a few. Of course swimming is probably the best total body workout one can get in a relative short period of time.

Resistance training is also a very good option for indoor exercise. The use of free weights and /or variable resistance machines at least three times a week is a great way to relieve stress, and strengthen the skeletal, muscular and cardiovascular systems. Performing resistance training will transfer over to other physical activities and will help improve overall performance and concentration.

Why not get involved in an activity or new sport that you’ve often wondered about but were too hesitant to try. Racquet sports such as squash, racquetball and tennis are readily available in the Goergen Athletic Center. There are also winter leagues and rec sports available such as basketball and badminton, which not only promote fitness but will also give you the chance to develop new friendships and relationships. If you’re not into team or individual sports, sign up for an aerobic or yoga class, which will definitely push you to improve your personal level of fitness.

Of course we all know the time factor can become a major issue. That is why it is important to choose activities that you enjoy and benefit from. Keep variety in your workouts and allow yourself to get acclimated with new activities gradually at first. The theory of “no pain no gain” does not hold true when it comes to training and injuries. Lastly, for you weekend warriors, don’t play a sport to get in shape, get in shape to play a sport!

Steckley is a certified UR athletic thrainer and can be reached at

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