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8 indoor alternative winter workouts

Posted by Elizabeth Comeau  November 14, 2012 08:28 AM

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RyanHealy100.jpgRyan Healy is a personal trainer for the Lynch/van Otterloo (LVO) YMCA in Marblehead. She is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist through the NSCA, and earned her BS in Exercise Sports Science from Elon University. Find more posts by her in conjunction with the LVO YMCA at She can be reached at

Remember; please consult your doctor before starting any exercise program.

Parts of Boston have already seen their first snowfall this year, and soon temperatures will be dropping even further, sending us inside for much of the winter fighting off cabin fever. Getting your regular workouts in can deter those winter blues and help your mind and body feel much better. You don’t have to be restricted to taking group exercise classes and going to the gym though. Here are some creative and alternative ideas for indoor winter exercise options.

1. Rock climbing: Many local health clubs and facilities offer indoor rock walls where you can use your strength, balance, coordination, and logic to help you ascend to the top. A wonderful workout for the body and mind. Three great climbing gyms in the area include Boston Rock Gym in Woburn, Metro Rock in Everett, and Rock Spot Climbing in Boston. This website also lists other options across Massachusetts.

2. Swimming: From traditional laps, to playing with your kids, or water running, there are many options when it comes to pools. Swimming is great for so many different body shapes, sizes, and conditions because of its low impact on the joints. Most local YMCAs, JCCs, and various health clubs like the Boston Athletic Clubs all offer access to Olympic pools.

3. Racquetball: Indoor court games like racquetball or squash provide heart pumping workouts that use skill, coordination, and power. Playing with a friend can also be a great way to catch up and make the time you’re exercising go by quickly and enjoyably. Some places even offer leagues that you can join if you’re looking for more competition. Many of the types of facilities listed under number two will also have racquetball or squash courts.

4. Jumping Rope: If your joints can handle it, jumping rope can be a fabulous way to fit in cardiovascular exercise. Try skipping for 30 seconds then resting for a minute, and repeating that 8-10 times in an interval format. Here’s a great video demonstrating 7 different ways to jump and keep things interesting.

5. Boxing Workouts: Peter Welch has a popular gym in South Boston that teaches fighter style conditioning workouts. All sessions are taught by former or current professional boxers and emphasize confidence, conditioning, and coaching.

6. Sky Zone: For something a little different and a lot of fun, try this indoor trampoline park. Not only is it a great place to exercise with your kids, it can make a really fun date too. There are different games you can play including dodge ball or basketball, and there’s even a foam pit to jump into. Whether you choose just to jump or to participate in any of the sports, you’ll be sweating and moving the whole time!

7. Stair Intervals: What’s more classic then running up a set of stairs like Rocky until you’re huffing and puffing? Try running up and down a flight of stairs for a minute and then stop to catch your breath. Once your breathing has slowed down and you could hold a conversation if you needed to without sucking wind, repeat the stair climb again for another minute. Try this anywhere from 8-12 times. If you want to make it more challenging, add in a few bodyweight exercises once you get to the bottom of the stairs (after the minute ends) like squats, push-ups, lunges, planks, or burpees.

8. Home Workouts: Try this simple but effective 10 minute workout I designed that you can do anywhere. If you’d like a longer workout, go through this several times.

I hope this helps generate new ideas for you this winter! I’d love to hear from you too. How do you stay active in the winter?

Staying fit is an important part of staying healthy. This blog will offer exercise tips from experts as well as share the personal journeys of Globe staff members committed to fitness. No matter your age or energy level, we invite you to join in and share your own story. How do you find time to work out? What are your daily challenges? Let us know and read along -- and together, we can all get moving.


Elizabeth Comeau is a social media marketing manager at She will be blogging about her personal fitness journey and using a device called a FitBit to track her weekly goals and progress (see below). Follow her journey and share your own. Read more about Elizabeth and this blog.

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