Tifani Kinard

Tifani Kinard

The cool days of October and early November often bring a sigh of relief to those of us living in the Southeast who have been exercising outside in better than 90-degree heat most of the summer. But we all know what comes next: rain.

After spending days inside relaxing with the air conditioner going full blast, soon we’ll be inside with the heater on, wishing the rain would stop. But don’t let the drizzly weather curtail your exercise regimen. There are lots of ways to get fit indoors.

The most obvious option is to join a local gym. While this might seem to be an expensive alternative to becoming a sofa potato during the winter, it’s really not.

Many gyms offer inexpensive sign-up fees and you can often pay by the month. If you can, avoid paying ahead of time over an extended period, even if it seems like a good deal. If you have never joined a gym, you might find it’s just not the thing for you and it would be a shame to invest too much money up front.

If you are looking for a less rigorous exercise routine, walking is always a good option. While you might prefer walking outdoors, that can be difficult during the cold and rainy winter months. Shopping malls are a great option and many of them welcome walkers in the morning before the stores open. Malls also offer a safe, secure and well-lighted place where you can lace up your sneakers and feel fairly comfortable.

There’s also a side benefit – companionship. You can often see people walking around local tracks in the summertime chatting with their neighbors. The same thing can take place at a shopping mall and you never know when you might make a new friend.

There are also ways you can work up a sweat in the comfort of your own home or apartment. There are three pieces of workout equipment that can fit nicely in a small living space – a treadmill, an elliptical machine or a stationary bicycle. Such equipment is not outrageously expensive, but it does not come cheap so make sure you have a way to store it. Also, check to see if what you want to purchase can be folded up in some way.

It is also smart to try an exercise machine before you buy. Most gyms will allow you a tryout period. Visit and walk on the treadmill; take a few strides on the elliptical; pedal on the stationary bike. Find out what you like before you buy it.

There are also a bunch of online apps, as well as videos you can rent or buy, that offer exercise routines in your own living room, These can range from short cardio drills to Pilates, yoga and even Zumba, complete with music. Find what works for you.

If you decide you want to go out in the rain for a run, almost every sportswear company makes waterproof or water-resistant workout material that can keep you from getting chilled to the bone. Not everyone likes getting wet, but on a warm day you might enjoy nature’s way of cooling you down.

The most important thing is to keep moving. As Thanksgiving and Christmas approach, finding creative ways to stay in shape might help you avoid the holiday weight gain so many of us struggle with.

Finally, don’t forget that it’s always a good idea to see your doctor before you begin any exercise program. Chances are, they can offer some great tips for healthy activities that are perfect for your current condition.

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