Don’t let the rain melt away your plans for exercise! If it’s not raining too heavily, an umbrella and proper clothing can keep your outdoor plans alive. But, if it’s “raining buckets”, consider walking in the mall. In the morning hours, many malls open their doors before the stores do. You can walk in the main corridors as if it were an inside track.
There are many other exercise options available too. In fact, using a variety of different activities can keep your exercise sessions enjoyable and exciting. Using a variety of exercises in a fitness program is called ‘cross training’. Here are some cross training ideas for both home and the health club.
A variety of exercise DVDs and streaming videos are available which can be used at home to exercise. Some provide stretching routines, while others include bench aerobic programs. Bench aerobic programs consist of stepping on and off a specially made bench. A variety of names are used to describe these programs including ‘bench stepping’, ‘step training’, or ‘benching’. Local libraries and video stores often have supplies of these types of videos which can be borrowed. Also, home exercise programs are offered on several television stations (consult your local listings).
Simple equipment and household items can also be used for exercise purposes. Heavy elastic bands can be used for strength training routines as can food containers and cans. (See ‘Soup Can Toners’ in Lesson 7). Home exercise equipment (e.g. treadmill, stationary bikes, skiing machines) are also rainy day alternatives that can introduce variety into your exercise program.
Some health clubs have indoor tracks that can be used for walking or running. They also offer a variety of equipment for use during a rainy day. Examples of exercise machines found in health clubs include stationary bikes, treadmills, skiing, rowing and weight machines. Stair climbing machines are relatively new to the fitness scene. With these machines, your feet remain on the pedals while you step as if you were climbing stairs.
Some health clubs have indoor pools. Swimming is an excellent aerobic activity that is a great alternative for walking. Health clubs with pools often offer swimming lessons as well as water aerobics programs. These are fun ways to exercise and introduce variety into your exercise program.
Health clubs, also, often offer other types of exercise programs, like Jazzercise or learning to use weights. Investigate the exercise facilities close to you and see what they offer.
Increase your walking program to a 25 minute walk, 4 times per week. If you are already at this level, try a 30 minute walk, 4 times per week. Remember to warm up and cool down. On the days you don’t plan to walk, do two new stretching exercises and add one new way to increase your daily activity (see Lesson 1).
Be sure to take your heart rate before, during and after your walking routine. Try to achieve a heart rate between the two numbers you calculated in the previous lesson. Remember, if your heart rate is below the lowest number, try walking a bit faster to increase the intensity of your walk (and your heart rate). If your heart rate is above the highest number, CAUTION...decrease the intensity of your walk to lower your heart rate.
Consult your physician before beginning any exercise program.