Let it snow! You can take your fitness program indoors

Gabe Mirkin

ARE YOU one of the many people who exercise regularly in warm weather and then stop as soon as it turns cold? After a winter without exercise, you know how hard it is to get back into shape. When you resume exercising, your muscles get sore, you tire quickly and you are more likely to be injured.

The answer? Take to the great indoors, where you can exercise no matter how dark, cold or snowy it is outside. You can jog in place or on a small trampoline, ride a stationary bicycle, pull on a rowing machine or jump rope. For fitness, exercising 30 minutes three times a week is sufficient.

Jogging in place can be just as beneficial to your heart as jogging on the roads. You can even jog in place in your bare feet. You can even jog in place in your bare feet. The striking force of your foot on the floow–even a hard floor–is not as great as it would be if you were running on the road; therefore, you do not require the shock absorbency of special shoes. Since your body does not need to be driven forward, you should land on your toes.

When you jog in place, you will develop all of your muscles adequately, except the hamstrings in the backs of your upper legs, which are used to drive you forward. After a winter of jogging only in place, you will be more likely to injure your hamstrings when you resume jogging on the road in the spring.

If you like, you can jog on a rebounder. Rebounders are small trampolines that are about 3 feet in diameter and are raised about a foot above the ground. They cost from $75 to $250.

It is far safer t jog on a trampoline than to jump on it. Jumping transmits a great force from your feet to your hips and back. this can be dangerous for people with thin bones and back problems.

Jogging on a trampoline is safer than jogging on the road. A trampoline absorbs some of the force of your footstrike, so that you land with a force equal to less than half of your body weight. When you jog on the road, the force of your footstrike is three times body weight.

RIDING A STATIONARY bicycle is another good indoor exercise. Choose a bike that has a large heavy flywheel with a belt on the outside rim where the tire normally would be. The larger and heavier the flywheel, the more likely it is to continue moving smoothly when you turn up the resistance gauge. Good stationary bicycles cost from $250 to $2,000, but the very best do not cost much more than $400.

Set your seat at the proper height. A seat that is too high can hurt your back. One that is too low can hurt your knees. Place your heel on one pedal set at its lowest point. Then set your seat so that when you sit down, your knee barely starts to bend. Now pedal the bike. If your pelvis rocks from side to side, your seat is too high.

If you choose a rowing machine for your winter fitness, get one with a movable winter fitness, get one with a movable seat so that your total body will be involved. Your goal is to increase your blood circulation; if you use just your arms, your heart may not do enough work to become stronger.

When you row with a machine, you must move the seat back and forth with your legs. To develop resistance against you rleg muscles, you must start each stroke by bending as far forward as you can and tilting your upper body forward.

Start each cycle by pushing your feet against the stirups. This will move your seat backward. Then move your upper body backward and finish off by pulling on the oars with your arms.

Rowing is one of the best exercises to strengthen your back. Many people with back problems can use such machines, as long as they stop rowing immediately if they feel any pain. Expect to pay $100 to $250 for your machine.

Jumping rope is very demanding. You have to spin the rope at least 80 times a minute to keep it from tangling. This takes the same amount of energy as running a mile in 7 minutes and 20 seconds.

Any rope will do. To make sure yours is the right length, stand with both feet on the middle of the rope. The ends should just reach your armpits.

When jumping, land on your toes and do not jump more than an inch off the ground. Your toes will absorb the force of your footstrike much better than your heels. Since the rope comes back to the ground every three quarters of a second, jumping too high will leave you in the air when your feet should be on the ground.

Keep your knees bent to help absorb the force of your footstrike.

No matter what you do to keep fit, you should have an alternative indoor sport to help get you through injuries and foul weather.

Every marathon runner and every jogger can benefit from a stationary bicycle or a rowing machine. Every tennis player and golfer can enjoy a small trampoline or a jump rope.

COPYRIGHT 1984 U.S. Chamber of Commerce

COPYRIGHT 2004 Gale Group

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