Sunday, 26 June 2011

5 Indoor workouts for the monsoon

Don't the weather 'rain on your parade', you can still stay fit in the wet season. Experts show how... 

So what if you can't get out for your regular run around the block due to the wet streets and rainy climes? There's no reason to let your workout regime slip. Apart from the aerobics and do-it-yourself hip-hop videos, there is a workout plan you can follow at home to keep fit. Exercise gurus get into indoor fitness mode...

1. Treadmill
Zareen Watson, trainer to Bollywood stars, says the simplest way to stay fit indoors is to go for a walk! "On a treadmill of course," she says. "You can do anywhere from 20 minutes to 45 minutes of walking. How you use the treadmill is dependent on your body history - if you have a bad knee or back it is not advisable to run. You may do a brisk walk at a speed you can safely maintain. You can also do a jogging workout, depending on your fitness level. What is very effective is if you do interval training, for instance, running for 2 minutes and then 2 ½ minutes of walking or 2 minutes of incline followed by 2 ½ minutes of walking on a flat surface. This sort of altering allows for a recovery period."

2. Stepper
"Any climbing exercise facilitates the muscles, warms you up faster and causes more calories to burn, generates more heat and thus a surge in the metabolic rate. Climbing also gives you more stamina and tones the legs. The Stepper and Elliptical Trainer (ET), works great as the legs are the largest muscle group," states fitness guru Mickey Mehta. There's a lot of variation one can try, like doing an alternate step, or hop-on, hop off. He adds, "As far as the Elliptical Trainer goes, it can give you almost 80% of a body workout and just half an hour on it is enough. It is a little better than a treadmill as you're using your arms, shoulder, chest, back, lower body and legs. You can do just legs also and sometimes exert force on the hand too."

3. Pumping iron 
Althea Shah of Gold's Gym talks of several indoor exercises on can do with weights. "Start after a warm-up. For the lower body do squats with dumbbells in your hands. Grab a chair and place it behind you. Standing in front of the chair with your feet shoulder width apart, then bend your knees and slowly squat towards the chair. Let your butt lightly touch the chair and slowly come back up. Do this 10-15 times, rest for a moment then repeat. You can also do lunges. For the Shoulder Press, hold the dumbbells to each side of the shoulders with elbows below wrists. Press dumbbells upward until arms are extended overhead. Lower to sides of shoulders and repeat. A Lateral Raise will have you hold dumbbells in front of thighs with elbows slightly bent. Then bend over with hips and knees bent slightly. Raise upper arms to sides until elbows are shoulder height. Maintain elbows' height above or equal to wrists. Lower and repeat. You can also do a Chest Press - lie flat on a bench, hold dumbbells directly above chest. Bend elbows slightly and maintain throughout the exercise. Open the arms to the sides. Elbows should remain 'locked' in a slightly flexed position. When upper arms are parallel to floor, return the weights to the starting position and repeat. This can be done on a flat bench or an inclined bench," she adds.

4. Aquatic workout 
If you like the water, it's time to get wet and happy with this one! Aqua specialist Deepali Jain says it's a great workout. "If you want to strengthen your core (your abs and back muscles), Aqualates works for you. The moment you lower yourself into the cool blue water, your work out begins. Millions of invisible fluid fingers reach out to knead and tone up the tiniest of muscles in your body you never knew existed, de-stressing them and rejuvenating you and the feel good factor is galore. When the depth of the water is waist deep the gravitational pull (gp) and buoyancy are working 50-50 % on your body. When you're chest deep, it is 25% gp and 75%b p, but when you're neck deep, then the gp is 0 percent and your workout becomes impact free.

The water being 13 times thicker than air, the calorie burn out rate goes up to 700 calories an hour, which is no mean feat, leading to weight loss, with no risk of injury due to the water cushioning you from all sides like a protective corset." And what are the exercises to do? "The specific exercises that are done against buoyancy give a fabulous overall tone to the body, giving you a lean mean healthy look. The only thing to remember is to do Aqualates under the supervision of a certified trainer," cautions Jain.

5. Swiss Ball 
Celebrity fitness trainer Deanne Pandey votes for the Swiss Ball. "It's also called the Balance Ball, Exercise or Pilates Ball.," she says. "The most important feature is that it is very good for functional moves and stability muscles. To explain, a Chest Fly on a bench may work only the pectoral muscles, but if done on a ball, it starts activating more than those muscles. And as you have to balance, the core starts getting stronger. You basically work multi-muscles which are very good for weight loss." The exercises done on the Swiss Ball are Wall Squats, Chest Fly and Press, Tricep Extensions and all Bicep Extensions. "A great exercise for the back is to lie on the ball till you feel a slight stretch on the spine. Hold this for a few minutes then relax, sit up and stretch. However, when using the ball one must be careful not to have any other equipment around, so you don't fall on it," she says.

3 rules to remember: 
- Wear the right gear: Sure, you're at home but you still need to wear your tracks and shoes, not slippers.
- Don't be distracted: Forget the phone and doorbell during your workout time.
- Be honest: Jot down what you have accomplished and don't cheat on it.

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