Ideally we’d all live on a beach and spend our days taking in some rays. Unfortunately even when the sun is shinning there are times when we’re trapped inside. Quality of life can be affected by stale air, limited space and bad weather. But a good work out can help can change your mood. For those times when the sun isn’t shinning outside there are ways to stay fit, feel healthy and enjoy the great indoors.
When we saw this one at CES we weren’t sure what to think. But the PCGamerBike does make for a winning formula. It can be used with any PC game that uses a keyboard for input. It connects via the USB port, and you can assign your forward and reverse pedal motion to any key on the keyboard. This works very well for driving and racing games, but is also compatible with shooters and role-playing games — so yes, you can pedal away while playing World of Warcraft! FitFX messaging affects the resistance, which is far from futile, so if you don’t spin, you don’t move. Basically it rewards your efforts by letting you get on with the game. A mini version with just the pedals ($179) is available now, while the full sized recumbent version will arrive this summer.
If you’ve seen those commercials for that “air cleaner” you already know that indoor air quality can amazingly be worse than outdoor air. And if you seal up your office or home like a tomb in the warm months and run the AC all day you’re essentially circulating bad air. No matter what the time of the year if the windows are closed running an air purifier can actually help make you feel better, and this is especially true if you’re working out. Plus if you work up a sweat the purifier will help clean the air of your body odor too! And unlike that other model on TV, the $299.95 Blueair 201 doesn’t emit ozone in the room (ozone over Antarctica is good, ozone in your living room is really bad!), and uses HEPA filters that resist contamination from bacteria, viruses and mold. Designed for smaller rooms, up to 200 square feet, this purifier offers five air changes per hour so you can always breathe right.
In the summer the last thing you need in most parts of the country is added humidity, but the same isn’t always true in the winter months. Dry rooms can make simple exercise, like weight lifting or even crunches, tough. But the problem with a lot of humidifiers is that these can become a Petri Dish for mold and bacteria. The $70 Hunter model actually is pretty maintenance free, with a regulated release system to eliminate stagnant water and a dishwasher-safe pan and tray. The plastic also features antimicrobial properties to inhibit the growth of mold and fungi, while a filter keeps bacteria in the water from being transmitted to the room. You still need to clean the thing of course, but with regular maintenance it will help you feel right when the weather outside isn’t so nice.
If it isn’t the heat, then it is the humidity! And when you put away the humidifier it is typically time to take out the dehumidifier. But you don’t necessarily need a massive dehumidifier unless you have a damp basement or live near a swamp! The rest of the time small units like the $59.95 Eva-Dry can help remove excess moisture from the air, which will make you feel cooler in warm weather. Designed for small to mid-sized room it features a tank that can hold up to 16 oz. of water and features an automatic shut-off when filled.
NordicTrack X10 Incline Trainer
The loneliness of the long distance runner can be less lonely if you can put in the miles in front of the TV. So if you’re stuck inside this treadmill will let you put in the miles, while the 50% incline will have you doing it all up hill. The $1,799.99 X10 is really intended for a more advanced workout, so you should build up to it before thinking about going to distance. But if you’re already in decent shape this machine can take it up a notch, helping you work your upper body with adjustable resistance cardio cables. Many machines promise a full body workout, but this one seems to deliver. Just be prepared to feel like you’re climbing to the heavens.
Extreme Fitness Mini Elliptical Trainer
If you don’t live in a walk-up apartment you probably don’t know what a pain stairs can mean. But if climbing up endless stairs weren’t good for you gyms wouldn’t be full of stair climbing machines. These can provide a good aerobic workout, but unlike stationary bikes or treadmills, stair climbers are a bit limited on the types of workouts – so a full sized machine might be overkill. If you’re tight on space — and don’t want to drop $1,000+ — this mini stepper ($199.99), which is ready to use right out of the box, will let you get the motion of stair climbing without the stairs! If you do live on the fifth floor… well, never mind!
Cycle Ops Sport 300PT Indoor Cycle (Saris Cycling Group)
Staying in top cycling shape means spinning year round, and one way to stay in the saddle when the weather outside is frightful is to hit an indoor training bike. While it costs as much as a quality road bike ($1,899.99), it manages to accurately duplicate the fit and feel too, and also features an electronic user interface that can be customized to your unique training program. During workouts a computer records biometric information, tracks heart rate and calories burned, and after the ride you can download your data to the PC via a USB connection. Plus you can ride year no matter what the weather conditions might be.
No matter what sort of exercise regime you’ve started you’ll want to monitor your progress. While the mirror will be honest about you how you look (and it never lies), you don’t have to rely on an old analog scale anymore to confirm your weight. Plus the $129.99 Tanita Ironman Body Composition Monitor will let you see the progress you’re making with your weight, body fat and body water percentages, muscle mass, physique rating, bone mass and even your metabolic age, all of which is all displayed on a 2.25-inch LCD screen. There is a four-person memory for those with roommates or multiple personalities.
Concept2 Model D Indoor Rower and RowPro Software
It has been said that crew — rowing — is one of the best activities you can do for fitness. Of course most of us don’t have a river with gentle flowing current. But instead you can go digital with Concept2’s $850 indoor rowing machine that does a pretty good job of simulating the experience, and coupled with RowPro’s software ($99) for Windows you’ll be like a Yale man ready to take on Harvard!
Sportslink Focus Trainer
To get the most out of any workout you need to be in the right frame of mind. This $345.99 device helps you focus so that you can improve your concentration and overcome any pre-performance anxiety. It will let you monitor your vital signs, so that you can reduce your stress, helping you reduce rest and recovery times. With the right breathing exercises and a bit of concentration you’ll be able to visualize your way to better shape.