Season 8 of Game of Thrones may not be airing until 2019, but winter is most definitely coming to Australia. And as the days get shorter, and the sun is a little slower to rise in the morning, it can become challenging to find the motivation to get up and go for a jog before work.
Similarly, many people may not feel safe exercising outdoors after dark, and leaving the office at 5pm leaves a very tiny window for that post-work run around your neighbourhood. But there are ways that you can combat the winter exercise slump without having to spend a fortune on a gym membership. We’ve put together a short list of calorie burning cardio workouts that you can do in the safety of your own home, on equipment that’s easy and affordable to rent. You don’t even have to venture out into the freezing morning air! But the best part by far is that you can undergo these exercises while rewatching every season of Game of Thrones in preparation for next year. Netflix and not-so-chill is the new way to have it all!
Rowing machines are fantastic for a full body workout. You’ll feel it working your upper body, legs and cardiovascular system. It’s also easier on your ankles, hips and knees than running; perfect for anyone who experiences straining in their joints. The rowing machine builds up endurance and gets your heart rate going. Here’s a simple rowing routine that makes for a killer cardio workout:
Step 1: Row at a light, steady pace for three minutes at a medium difficulty to warm up.
Step 2: Rest for thirty seconds.
Step 3: Row a bit faster for two minutes at a hard difficulty level.
Step 4: Rest for thirty seconds.
Step 5: Go helter-skelter as fast as you can on the highest difficulty level for one minute.
Step 6: Cool down on a low difficulty level for two minutes.
Step 7: Repeat as often as you feel capable but remember not to push your body too far! Know your limits and remember to cool down properly.
The treadmill is a staple in any home gym. If you’re a cardio workout fiend, you’ll want to rent one of these long-term to keep up a steady routine over winter, when you may not be able to go for a run outside as often as you would like. If you frequently jog around a hilly neighbourhood and want to continue building up your strength, you can do this on a treadmill by making use of the incline function. Here’s a workout to get those muscles moving:
Step 1: Warm up with a light jog for five minutes.
Step 2: Jog at a fast pace on a 2% incline for one minute.
Step 3: Jog at a fast pace on a 4% incline for one minute.
Step 4: Jog at a fast pace on a 6% incline for one minute.
Step 5: Jog at a fast pace on a 8% incline for one minute.
Step 6: Cool down with a light jog on a 1% incline for two minutes.
Step 7: Repeat steps two to six, but change the incline to 4%, 6%, 8%, 10% then back to 1%.
Step 8: Repeat steps two to six, but change the incline to 6%, 8%, 10%, 12% then back to 1%.
Step 9: Take an extra three minutes to cool down with no incline, at a light power walk.
An exercise bike is another piece of equipment that has less of an impact on your joints than running. They’re great for people that want to focus on building strength and burning fat in the lower half of their bodies. Cycling is also beneficial for lowering high blood pressure and strengthening the heart. If you want to burn fat, faster, try this thirty-minute high-intensity interval training workout:
Step 1: Warm up for five minutes by cycling at a fast speed, with low resistance.
Step 2: Cycle at a fast speed, at medium resistance for twenty seconds.
Step 3: Cycle at a fast speed, at low resistance for ten seconds.
Step 4: Repeat steps two and three, eight times.
Step 5: Give yourself a chance to catch your breath by cycling at medium speed, on a low resistance for one minute.
Step 6: Repeat steps two and three, three more times.
Step 7: Cool down by cycling slowly for five minutes, gradually removing the resistance until you reach zero.
If you want to go the whole nine yards with your indoors workout, you may consider renting a cross trainer (also sometimes referred to as an elliptical). It offers a full body workout at a balanced pace of your choosing. You control the speed at which you move, so it’s important to have self-control here (and not get slower as you come up to a particularly gruelling scene in GoT!). Perhaps it’s best to use this machine in conjunction with your most motivational pump up playlist! Here’s an easy workout to get you started:
Step 1: Warm up for three minutes on level three resistance, with an average SPM (strides per minute) of 130.
Step 2: Change your resistance to level five, but keep the same SPM and continue for a further two minutes warm up.
Step 3: Keep your resistance level at five and break into a healthy sprint with an SPM of 140, for five minutes.
Step 4: Bump up your resistance level to seven, maintain the same pace and go backwards for five minutes.
Step 6: Keep the same resistance and pace, and change to moving forwards for five minutes.
Step 7: Maintain the same resistance and pace, but get your hands working by pushing for two and a half minutes.
Step 8: Knock your resistance level back to five, slow down your SPM to 130, and change your hands so that they’re pulling for two and a half minutes.
Step 9: Keep your resistance level at five, speed up your SPM to 140 and move forward with no hands for five minutes.
Step 10: Cool down for five minutes by moving your resistance level down to three and your SPM down to 130.