In a winter that seems like it will never end, some of us may be suffering from a bout of cabin fever. Most of the ski resorts are closed and outdoor activities may feel limited, but just because the temperatures are low doesn’t mean your fitness level has to be. We’ve selected several at-home gadgets to keep you active, entertained and ready for spring weather when it finally arrives.
GRID FOAM ROLLER
(Grid Foam Roller by Trigger Point: $39.99; www.tptherapy.com)
More than just a massage roller, this versatile piece of equipment can be used for a full-body workout, trigger-point therapy and self-myofascial release therapy. When a muscle is overworked or injured, it can result in small knots or trigger points. When pressure is applied to these areas, the bound tension can be released and the muscular aches and pains can subside.
The unique surface of the GRID foam roller allows you to massage these specific areas without prohibiting the blood flow at the point of pressure. The Trigger Point website offers instructional videos to help you safely and effectively use the roller. Once you’ve become comfortable with the roller, move on to the full-body workout routines outlined on the website to increase strength and stability. Need more guidance? Consider their SMRT-CORE program — a DVD collection that’s designed for varying fitness levels and challenges the core while delivering a self-massage.
(Gaiam Sol Thin-Grip Yoga Mat: $39.98; www.gaiam.com)
Not just for yogis, an exercise mat is something everyone should have. They offer an instant clean and clutter-free space for you to unwind. With so many exercise and yoga mats to choose from, it can be hard to narrow down the options. There are varying thicknesses, materials and styles.
Our go-to mat is the Sol Thin Grip Yoga Mat by Gaiam. This thin mat is a mere 1 millimeter thick but provides a surface that can adapt to each situation. At home, lay it on top of the carpet or a rug to use your new GRID roller or to perform any floor exercise. If you take your mat to a traditional yoga class, the mat will sit perfectly atop a mat the studio provides, and the slip-free texture of the mat will keep you from sliding around during a hot yoga class. The mat folds up to a small square, making it easy to stash away in a basket in your living room, encouraging you to grab it and stretch during the evening news or crank out some pushups during commercial breaks.
ONLINE FITNESS CLASSES
Now that you’ve got the mat, you’re halfway to performing yoga. In the comfort of your own home, you can start with a simple restorative 10-minute yoga that’s essentially a guided stretching session. Visit www.doyogawithme.com for a large selection of free online yoga videos that are great for beginners and yogis alike, or download a class from our favorite Colorado-based instructor, Cher Aslor, at www.yoga download.com.
Beyond yoga, there are online classes in dance and martial arts and serious sweat-inducing cardio sessions. There are countless free online videos, or consider joining an online gym where you’ll have unlimited access to full-body workouts. When we’re feeling sluggish and need a serious cardio boost, we head to www.zuzkalight.com and hit the ZGYM for high-intensity, results-driven workouts. With so many options out there, you’re bound to find an instructor or teaching style that works for you and will help you get ready for an adventurous spring in the Rockies.
(TRX HOME suspension kit: $199.95; www.trx training.com)
By now, you’ve probably seen a TRX setup at a gym. The attention-grabbing yellow bands are becoming a popular feature at most gyms, and TRX has now created a home kit. The premise of the TRX system is to utilize gravity against your own body weight. The suspension bands allow you to perform hundreds of exercises that are targeted at specific areas of the body.
The TRX HOME kit comes with the suspension bands, door anchor, suspension anchor and six digital video workouts to strengthen, tone and sculpt your entire body. The anchor and bands are surprisingly easy and quick to set up and store away in a small mesh tote.
STATIONARY BIKE STAND
(New Kinetic Road Machine: $379; www.kurt kinetic.com)
While the paths are still covered in snow, there’s no reason to let your road bike get rusty. A stationary bike stand allows you to mount your road bike and ride at ease indoors. This fluid trainer is quieter than magnetic trainers, and the progressive resistance is designed to replicate the feel of an outdoor ride.
The sturdy and durable piece of machinery comes with a lifetime warranty, making it worth the $379 investment. Adjustable for 22- to 29-inch wheels, this can accommodate road bikes for the whole family. Kinetic also makes trainers specifically designed for mountain bikes and BMX bikes and a $190 version for the casual rider. Check out their website to find the stand that suits you best.