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Posted: March 05, 2013

Awesome indoor workouts to try before winter's over

By Kissairis Munoz

You’re not imagining it. Winter still isn’t over. There’s no daylight when your alarm clock goes off, you’ve logged more miles than you’d like to count on the dreadmill, and — duh — it’s really cold out there. It’s no surprise that any motivation to get outdoors and work up a sweat has gone the way of the groundhog and buried itself until spring. But don’t let the season be an excuse to stray from those resolutions and lose your workout mojo. We’ve rounded up our favorite calorie-busting workouts that can be done indoors to get through these final weeks of winter. And who knows — you might even find a workout you’ll want to do all year long.

1. Ride it out. So the idea of wiping out on black ice or feeling the cold breeze freeze your face while bike riding isn’t appealing? Spin class might be for you. These intense indoor cycling classes can burn up to hundreds of calories and keep bones strong[1]Interval-based rides will also strengthen the butt, thighs, calves, and even the core. No helmet necessary.

2. Lap it up. It’s never too early to dig up that swimsuit. Head to your gym or community center’s indoor pool to get in a few solid swims before summer hits. This low-impact exercise lets athletes exercise longer without excess muscle strain, and might even beat yoga when it comes to improving breathing technique[2][3]. Bonus: An improved mood, and a leaner physique to boot[4].

3. Resistance train. No need to venture outside — a gym isn’t required for these 50 bodyweight exercises, guaranteed to improve strength and endurance with just body resistance alone. Try this 30-minute workout, complete with high-intensity supersets, to get a heart-pumping resistance workout without any dumbbells, machines, or plates.

4. Hit a wall. An indoor rock climbing wall, that is. This non-traditional cardio workout really hits the mark for those who want to exercise their mental strength (what happens to my legs if my arms go here?). But it’s about physical prowess as well — scaling indoor walls will increase heart rates and torch up to 650 calories per hour[5]. Not only does it work the arm muscles, it activates the legs, back, and shoulders as well. Cue the bragging rights once you’ve reach the top!

5. Lace up. Ice skating isn’t just for kids. If it’s too cold for outdoor skating to be fun, head to your local indoor rink to carve up the ice. Aside from being super fun, skating tones the legs, core, and butt, along with smaller, stabilizing muscles that assist with balance and coordination. At a moderate pace, ice skating also burns about 500 calories per hour (and that’s not counting those bonus points for jumps and spins!).

For the list of all 20 awesome indoor workouts, go to


  1. Self-reported recreational exercise combining regularity and impact is necessary to maximize bone mineral density in young adult women: a population-based study of 1,061 women 25 years of age. Callreus, M, McGuigan, F, Ringsberg, K, et. al. Department of Orthopaedics, Lund University, Skane University Hospital, Malmo, Sweden. Osteoporosis International. 2012 Oct;23(10):2517-26. doi: 10.1007/s00198-011-1886-5. Epub 2012 Jan 13. []
  2. Immersion in warm water induces improvement in cardiac function in patients with chronic heart failure. Cider, A, Syealy, BG, Tang, MS, et. al. Department of Cardiology, Cardiovascular institute, Sahlgrenska University, Goteborg, Sweden. European Journal of Heart Failure. 2006 May;8(3):308-13. Epub 2005 Oct 26. []
  3. A comparative study of the effects of yoga and swimming on pulmonary functions in sedentary subjects. Gupta, Ss, Sawane, MV. Department of Physiology, VN GMC, Yeotmal, Maharashtra, India. International Journal of Yoga. 2012 Jul;5(2):128-33. doi: 10.4103/0973-6131.98232. []
  4. Mood alteration with yoga and swimming: aerobic exercise may not be necessary. Berger, BG, Owen, DR. Department of Physical Education, Brooklyn College, City University of New York. Perceptual and Motor Skills. 1992 Dec;75(3 Pt 2):1331-43. []
  5. Physiological responses to indoor rock-climbing and their relationship to maximal cycle ergometry. Sheel, AW, Seddon, N, Knight, A, et. al. School of Human Kinetics, The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise. 2003 Jul;35(7):1225-31. []

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