Question: Allergy season is here and I have to shift my walks from outdoors to indoors for a while. I really have a difficult time doing the cardio I need to do unless it’s outside. I am considering using the mall to get my walking done or as a last resort, the treadmill. Any suggestions about how to make indoor training more bearable?
Answer: The boredom factor is your primary challenge when doing indoor cardio training and there are techniques for making it effective. If the goal is weight loss or light conditioning when you challenge yourself it can be even more productive than walking or running outside. To do that on a treadmill you need to forget about the television or reading a book. There are those who say that reading or watching television is the only way they can endure the boredom. With that statement, the truth is revealed. If the challenge is something to be endured then it’s not a challenge. It’s a chore.
Your mindset is the key factor to productive training. To prepare your mind and engage your will choose music that motivates you. Put it into your electronic device, CD or even a mix tape if you’re old school. Plug in your headphones and start walking uphill on the highest incline. Take long strides and you cannot hold on. Here is where the music takes over. Your first two to six minutes are a bear to get through as your body shifts from anaerobic to aerobic conditioning. The only way to get through that is to choose to, letting the music push you along the way. Plan to walk for a predetermined number of songs and cover the timer. Watching the timer can break your will. You can walk for five, eight or ten songs. When you absolutely have to have a break hold on for approximately 30 seconds, an eighth of a lap or through the chorus of the song. Once you reach the end of your break you have to let go. If you’re watching television or reading then the research shows what we already knew, that you burn approximately 22-25% less calories mindlessly walking than if you’re engaged in the activity. If your walk on the highest incline isn’t sustainable then drop the incline three levels and go there as long as you can. The idea is to work hard.
The problem with mall walking is there is no resistance. It’s level which is nice but it doesn’t require great effort. To get results requires effort. Wouldn’t you rather walk for less time and get more return on the time you spend exercising?
Being a gerbil on a spinning wheel won’t get you results. Make it count.
God bless and keep training,