The Lehigh Valley is a great place to live, work and play, but it does come with its share of challenges. For the past month we have been in the throes of a stifling heat wave, choking on the humid air every time we set foot outside our doors. Our radar has been dotted with small but vicious storm cells nearly every day. Meanwhile, my Trikke has sat parked in my garage, enjoying its own respite from the oppressive summer.
As certain as the Valley is to have summer heat waves like this, it is equally certain that we will eventually face long, harsh winters. The snow, sleet, high winds and short days will force us to seek the warm sanctuary of the indoors.
While we can’t change the weather, we can change our attitudes about exercising during these tough days. I am admittedly not the biggest fan of exercising overall, and if you look at the types I do enjoy (Trikking, biking, walking) you’ll notice a theme; I like outdoor exercises that “take me somewhere”. The fresh air, the sunlight and the beautiful terrain of the Valley are as therapeutic for my mind as the actual exercise is for my body. So what do I do on a day like today? What do I do on a day when the heat index reached 101 degrees and the afternoon and evening featured several waves of thunderstorms?
In years past, I would have reached for a book or a video game controller without giving it a second thought. But this year I have turned over a new leaf and made the decision to get fit and healthy. So I have begun exercising indoors with the same regularity and zeal that I rode my Trikke and bike in the spring and early summer. My exercise program of choice right now is the kettlebell. These short but intense workouts can be done in a relatively small amount of space, and are varied enough to keep me interested. I am also planning to learn yoga, which will be good for my mind as well as my body.
While I truly would have enjoyed playing a video game today, I have shifted my attitude in a way that encourages me to make the healthy choice to exercise instead. How? What have I told myself that has changed my point of view so radically? It’s simple; I have made so much progress riding my Trikke and bike this year that I can’t bear the thought of losing my newfound fitness during these hot and rainy months where I may only have one chance every week or two to get outside. I no longer look at doing indoor exercise for the sake of exercise alone. That approach has seriously never worked for me, no matter how many scientific studies you throw at me proving the benefits of a good workout. Instead, I have been telling myself that by exercising indoors, I am continuing to improve my body, which will in turn improve my riding once the weather becomes pleasant again.
It really is this simple. I now view indoor exercise as training for my Trikke and bike instead of something that merely has to be done for its own sake. If you want to become a better Trikker and you live somewhere that you can’t get out and ride it nearly every day, you owe it to yourself to find a likeable (or at least tolerable) indoor alternative. You could pick from a myriad of activities: weight training, kettlebells, treadmills, stationary bikes, martial arts, yoga, zumba, kickboxing, etc… You can work out at home or at the gym. Just commit to doing something and commit to shifting your attitude towards seeing it as training for your preferred outdoor activities. You’ll be amazed at how you will begin to eagerly embrace an exercise program that you may have previously turned your nose up at.
I’d love to hear your own experiences. What types of indoor exercises do you enjoy? And how has this ultimately helped your riding?