Hi! I hope you’re reading this from Panama or Jamaica or somewhere else warm where the temperature is above freezing. It’s currently -30 Celsius here (that’s -22 Fahrenheit for my American readers!) and cold enough to kill the new battery in my car and freeze the HOT WATER pipes in my house.
On top of all that fun, I’ve been making all my important life decisions this week, such as whether to pick up fresh vegetables to feed my vegetable-starved winter body or to meet a long-lost friend for coffee, based on the temperature outside. In both cases, the answer was no 😐
But the good news is that despite the bomb cyclone our southern and eastern neighbours are facing, as well as the persistent polar vortex that currently has my friends and family in its death grip, there are still lots of ways for us to get our steps in… without setting foot outdoors!
That’s right: cold temperatures don’t have to stand in the way of our daily exercise; we may just have to be a bit more creative about how we get it done at home these days.
Here are 8 of my favourite cheap and easy ways to exercise at home indoors when there’s a bomb cyclone or polar vortex circling outdoors.
- Mini Trampoline/Rebounder
Trampolines of all sizes are pretty much my BFF. They combine vigorous exercise that feels like fun and on the large ones at least, there’s a very real feeling of flying!
I have enjoyed my rebounder for years and it’s a low-impact exercise that can be beneficial for those with joint pain. It can improve balance, which is especially important for preventing falls as we age, as well as lymphatic function.
This is critical because the lymphatic system is the only one in our body that doesn’t come with its own pump. Without a pump, it really relies on exercise to get waste products up and out of the body’s elimination systems. Most forms of exercise benefit the lymph system, but trampolines are especially good for this due to the up-and-down (“pumping”) motion.
You can pick up an inexpensive mini trampoline, suitable for indoor use, for $50 to $100, from many big box stores.
- Resistance Bands
Cheap, cheerful, excellent at targeting specific areas of the body, and available to use anywhere and as part of any exercise regimen.
What more do you need?
In fact, resistance bands are one of my favourite fitness tools to pack when I travel because they’re lightweight, take up less space than my underwear, and come in many lengths and resistance levels. For the same reason, they’re great to keep at home for briskly cold days like we’ve been having.
Here’s an impressive list of Resistance Band Exercises You Can Do Literally Anywhere (with pictures + instructions).
- Yoga with Adriene
If you’re more dedicated to your yoga than I am, perhaps you’re also brave enough to head outdoors during a polar vortex to get to your fav yoga class. For the rest of us, there’s Yoga With Adriene.
My beautiful friend in Ottawa got me hooked on this supportive, motivating yoga teacher who offers a buffet of different yoga challenges and workouts of all lengths and levels from beginner on up. She has 10- to 15-minute yoga sequences for Busy People and I love those (maybe that’s you too?) I also love her yoga for “when you’re angry” or “when you’re in a bad mood”.
- Just Dance.
If you just like to shake your booty and do your own thing, an impromptu dance party might be just the exercise ticket for you!
Turn your favourite tunes on, set a funky dance playlist on Spotify, or find an entertaining YouTube video you won’t be able to resist dancing along to.
You’ll be sweating in no time (and maybe even a little sore tomorrow)!
- Jump Rope
Even if you don’t know where it is right now, chances are you probably still have a dusty jump rope (or skipping rope as I call it) lying around somewhere. Find it and get jumping!
Generally, this is a more high-impact exercise compared to the cushioned trampoline, but still an effective and straightforward cardiovascular exercise. It’s also great for supporting the lymphatic system, as a pump, like the mini trampoline/rebounder.
If you want to have your cake and eat it too, combine jumping rope with dancing and you’ll have some extra fun!
- Stair Climbing and/or Running
Simple and straightforward. And best if you have hardwood or solid flooring (no carpets… unless your balance is excellent and/or you’re a daredevil!)
- Fitness Blender
Described as “Gimmick-Free Fitness for the People”, Fitness Blender offers fitness videos of all kinds, from HIIT to squat challenges to workouts that target specific body areas. Some of the videos require specialized equipment, but all of the videos are free and nicely laid-out.
- House Cleaning
This is a bit of a cheat because house cleaning probably doesn’t rank among anyone’s favourite exercises, but it CAN be an effective calorie burner depending on the type of house cleaning you’re doing.
According to Fit Day, making the bed could burn 130 calories for 30 minutes of effort, while scrubbing the bathroom could burn 200 calories for 30 minutes.
It all adds up!
So whether you’re pushing your vacuum cleaner, scrubbing your bathroom floors by hand or reorganizing your kitchen cupboards, you’ll be getting your daily steps in and committing to a regular exercise routine (whether it’s one of your favourite forms of exercise or not!)
What’s your favourite easy, free or cheap way to exercise indoors at home when it’s cold enough to freeze your butt off?
Life is a plate… Eat up!