Road runners and cyclists may dread moving
their exercise routines indoors as winter approaches but fitness experts say it
could be an opportunity to fine-tune a familiar routine or a chance to discover
new skills. Jessica Matthews, a California-based yoga instructor and exercise
physiologist with the American Council on Exercise, remarked that road cyclists, racers
and runners start trickling into yoga classes at that time of year.
"The cold weather might have forced them indoors but they discovered
something," said Matthews, adding that a change in the weather can offer
be a chance to supplement their workout with cross-training, group fitness
classes or even workout DVDs. "Runners and cyclists often spend little time
on strength training," Matthews explained. "But we know it is a
critical component to enhance what you do and do it safely."
Outdoor runners who shun indoor training, she added, could be missing an
opportunity to fine-tune their regimen on a treadmill. "Many hear the word
treadmill and say, 'No'," she said. "But with a treadmill you have at
your fingertips the ability to tailor, customize and vary your workout every
single day: to focus on speed, or to add intervals, or hills. "And your
route is not limited to your neighbourhood.
Tighten, tone and stretch
Suzanne Bowen, a Panama City Beach, Florida-based fitness expert, has always
trained indoors. "Whether dealing with heat or cold, you have to find
something you like to do indoors, something you're comfortable with," said
Bowen, the creator of online streaming fitness classes and the "Tighten, Tone
and Stretch" fitness DVD.
For exercisers married to their outdoor routines who feel forced inside,
Gregory Chertok, a New Jersey-based sport and exercise psychology consultant
for the American College of Sports Medicine, suggests a gradual approach.
"They may want to dedicate one or two of their workouts per week to
indoors, in order to slowly adjust," he said. "It takes some of the
trauma away." He said perspective management, or the ability to view events
as neither good nor bad but neutral, is among the most powerful tools in both
general and sports psychotherapy.
When we're forced to engage in new workouts, Chertok explained, the muscles are
surprised and effectiveness is enhanced. "Physiologically the body
responds," he said. In the social setting of a gym, he added the lone
outdoor runner can limber up his social skills.
"There are great benefits to solitary exercise: it's meditative, it's a
chance to ruminate and an opportunity for alone time," he said. "But
there are also benefits of working out in a social setting." Chertok said
adopting a flexible lifestyle in sports or exercise can lead to benefits in
other areas."The skill of emotional flexibility is very
transferable," he added.