One of the most frustrating things in the world has got to be this: having your heart and mind set on doing something, only to be stopped by something completely out of your control.
Like today. I was really looking forward to going for a run, considering I wasn’t able to attend morning cross country practice. In fact, I was itching to flush out my lungs with clean, summer air. While I slogged through summer assignments, my feet tapped impatiently on the ground, aching to be flying across terrain rather than rooted to the floorboards.
Just as I was getting ready to head upstairs to change, I heard the unmistakable sound of some stray raindrops plunking onto my roof. At first, this didn’t deter me; a light drizzle definitely makes running a lot more enjoyable. Unfortunately, the next thing I heard stopped me in my tracks: the rushing howl of the wind as it swept through the air, leaving rustling leaves in its wake. This could only mean one thing.
I groaned when the telltale crack of thunder rumbled in the distance. Of course, the one day I was actually looking forward to running, it had to thunderstorm. With an audible sigh, I sank back into my chair, resigning myself to another monotonous, sluggish day devoid of exercise.
After a minute of sulking, I laughed. I realized that while it was too dangerous to run outside, there were plenty of other active things I could do indoors.
Ergo, this particular post is for anyone who finds their physical activity limited by external factors. In the summertime, there are plenty of obstacles between us and exercise, whether it is uncooperative weather, packed itineraries on family vacations or long hours on the job in a cramped office setting. However, none of these pesky things should stop us from maintaining our level of fitness.
First of all, walking is an incredibly simple thing to do with a surprising number of benefits. A “Runner’s World” magazine piece published in July 2013 says it all in the headline: “Sitting is the New Smoking.” According to the article, extended periods of sitting can contribute to terrifying things: depression, diabetes and heart disease, to name a few. As a result, even brief walks around the cubicle or hotel room can reenergize you and preserve your fitness and health.
Abdominal exercises are one of my go-to activities when I’m indoors (or outdoors, as a matter of fact). One of the things I picked up from cross country is what we call “8-minute abs.” This activity consists of a sequence of eight different abdominal exercises – such as sit-ups, crunches, bicycles, leg lifts and planks – each of which lasts for one minute. This exercise is extremely flexible; it can be modified in duration and intensity, so it’s easy to squeeze into a packed schedule.
Strengthening exercises in general are essential to a good workout routine. For runners, it’s easy to get injured if you ramp up the mileage and intensity after an extended period of inactivity. Leg, arm and glute exercises can help your body avoid injury – only to an extent, so their benefits should not be pushed – until you are able to go back to your normal routine. There are plenty of exercises out there, but some of the easiest include squats, lunges, pull-ups and push-ups, all of which can be done with minimal to no extra equipment.
There are also plenty of online sources that can provide you with a plethora of workout ideas. One of my best friends is particularly fond of an exercise blog known as Blogilates, run by a certified fitness instructor who posts a collection of fitness videos, not to mention meal plans, recipes and other resources for the enthusiastic athlete. A bit of warning: Blogilates videos may look simple but are actually quite painful, as I found out the hard way when my friend convinced me to follow along with her once.
I hope these suggestions can help whenever you want to exercise but are confined indoors. As I mentioned in my previous post, the right decision might be hard to make, but you’ll feel a lot better when you’ve seen it through to the end. Don’t make excuses for giving up on exercising; there are always things that can be done, even if you are indoors or in impossibly small spaces.