Best Indoor Winter Workouts
Don’t let a few inches -- or feet -- of snow and subzero temperatures keep you from getting your best body ever this year. It may be too cold for jogging or playing tennis, but you can break a sweat with these great new indoor workouts.
1. For a fresh spin on spinning, check out RealRyder cycling classes. They feature “unstationary” stationary bikes with frames that tilt 18 degrees, so along with pedaling, you can also lean and steer. That means your whole body -- legs, upper body, glutes and core -- are working. What’s more, as you shift your body from side to side, you come a lot closer to the experience of riding a bike on a curvy road on a windy day. The result: you can count on burning about 20 percent more calories than in a conventional spin class, while getting a good mental workout too. With total focus required, it’s a boredom-buster.
2. Pilates is great for toning and lengthening muscles, but it falls short when it comes to cardio conditioning … until now. Pilates reformer classes equip the classic piece of Pilates equipment with pulleys and springs for a fast-moving workout that will leave you drenched in sweat. Sara Kapuchinski teaches a version of these classes to a roster of celebrities that includes Kim Kardashian, Christina Ricci and Sofia Vergara at her Los Angeles studio, I Heart Fitness XO. “Pilates is great for your core,” she says, “but I wanted to balance that with something that was more cardio-driven without being a boot camp.” For an at-home alternative, consider the CoreBody Reformer by Nautilus ($279 at CoreBodyReformer.com), a portable Pilates system with built-in pulleys and weights, and DVDS that will lead you through Pilates and cardio moves.
3. “Muscle confusion” is the newest science in working out. The principle is that when your body becomes accustomed to a set of exercises it adapts, you stop losing weight or toning up. New at-home programs like P90X and Supreme 90 Day outsmart this plateau by constantly changing up moves so your muscles don’t know what’s coming next. The P90X system includes 12 DVDs -- Supreme 90 Day has 10 -- that take you through different core, cardio, lower-body and upper-body workouts each day. The American Council on Exercise (ACE) tested out various muscle-confusing programs and found them highly effective. Overall, muscle confusion workouts burn more calories, including a higher percentage of fat calories, says an ACE spokeswoman.
If you can’t get to your yoga class, try:
“Shiva Rea: More Daily Energy.” This DVD from the celebrity yoga teacher contains seven 20-minute practices for both beginners and advanced yoga students. A customizable yoga matrix allows you to tailor your own workout depending on your energy level, mood and schedule.
If the playground is under a foot of snow, check out:
The “Hoopnotica” collection of fitness hoops and DVDs, and join the new generation of hoopers, including Michelle Obama and Beyonce. You’ll find travel hoops, glow-in-the-dark hoops and beginner hoops. Advanced hoopers also get mini hoops so you can twirl two or more at a single time.
If you don’t have time for a full-length workout, try:
“Exhale: Core Fusion Power Sculpt.” With five 10-minute segments that combine yoga postures and light hand-weights, you can work your biceps and triceps before your morning shower, your core at midday, and your thighs and glutes before bedtime.
If you’d rather stay near the fireplace than venture to your favorite dance class, try:
Zumba Fitness 2 for Nintendo Wii or Zumba Fitness Rush for Kinect for Xbox 360. Both versions include tracks from artists such as Pitbull and Nicole Scherzinger, as well as 24 dance styles, including Latin pop, Bollywood and samba. Want even more moves? Join one of the crews on Dance Central 2 for Kinect for Xbox 360 and get your sweat on to a soundtrack that includes Usher, Rihanna, Lady Gaga, Bruno Mars, Daft Punk and Missy Elliott.
Shelley Levitt, managing editor of The Style Glossy, is a former West Coast editor of SELF and senior writer at People.