Beat Poor AQI and Keep Fit Too! Try These Indoor Training Hacks To Keep on Track

Walk, Run, Cycle & Swim: It's possible while staying home, marking yourself safe from pollution season. Here's How:

4 min read
Hindi Female

The pollution season in North India is at its peak. And working out in this condition is never a good idea—no matter which triathlon you are training for.

“The pollution doesn't just affect your lungs but also your skin and eyes. Breathing this air can lead to cough, irritation in the throat and eyes, and a reduction in your exercise capacity,” explains Dr Sonam Solanki, Consultant Pulmonologist and Bronchoscopist at Mumbai’s Masina Hospital.

Dr Solanki advises keeping track of the AQI level in the city you live in and prepare an alternative plan beforehand for days when the reading is high to reduce your exposure to polluted air. Here are a few tips to let you do just that:

Invest in a Compact Treadmill

There are a few lightweight treadmills available in the market now. The one I have used this year is The Flexpad from Flexnest. This foldable treadmill hardly takes up space and can easily be stored under the bed. It also has an in-built speaker which means no more sweaty earbuds falling off mid-run. Coming at a price of Rs 27999, this Bluetooth-enabled treadmill is easy to use and needs only a 12V power adapter to switch it on.

The good thing about treadmills is you can work on your form. I have a tendency to land on my heels. I used the treadmill first to record my landing style during a short run. Then, I chose a moderate pace to increase my cadence (the number of steps I take per minute) while keeping my stride length short.

Other than the usual warm-up for five minutes followed by 15 minutes of running sessions, I chose to do a few of the preset programmes on the flexpad as well. My favourite is a 10-minute one which changes the speed after every minute.

Starting with a slow walk at a speed of two km/hour, you quickly level up to nine km/hour for the next two minutes. This is followed by a seven km/hour run for two minutes. The next few minutes you gradually slow down till you are again walking at the speed of two for the last minute.

Ride Your Way to a Goal

Yes, cycling outdoors is fun and yes, you can keep your face covered with a mask, relatively safely. But an indoor trainer has several perks. For starters, you do not have to worry about the traffic on the road and can focus on speed when required. Planning the route can also be a pain, so indoor training takes that worry out of your training schedule.

Take for example, Decathlon’s Home Trainer In’Ride 100 which costs Rs 8999. This compact device easily attaches to your bike without any professional help. It is, however, advisable to keep a spare wheel for indoor training to reduce the wear-and-tear on your road bike which can happen due to friction on the machine.

Though it can be a bit boring if you are riding long, and get hot if there is no proper ventilation in the room, an indoor cycle still lets you work on speed as well as form. It’s easy enough to keep your cycle in front of the mirror (or record yourself ) so that you can correct your riding posture. It’s also a good opportunity to get a proper bike fit done.

The indoor trainer is great for increasing strength. Just increase the resistance on the back wheel and keep riding. A cadence-focused workout I like is interval training. After a five-minute warm-up ride, do one minute at high cadence (keeping it above 120), followed by 2 minutes at easy (80-85 cadence). Repeat for five rounds and finish with a 10-minute cool down. This, however, is only possible if you separately buy a cadence sensor and speed sensor.


Water or Not, Wing Your Swim Strokes

Even without the pollution, most pools across the country are closed during winters. But that does not mean you shouldn’t train. Goa-based swim coach Tony Fernandes makes sure his clients always learn and practice dry-land skills. This comes in handy when the beaches are closed during the monsoon season in Goa, and in other parts of the country–during winters.

One of the easiest dry-land exercises can be done on your yoga mat or even bed with a pillow under your feet. Engage your core and kick from the top of your leg (you can bend your knees very softly to avoid locking them). As a beginner, keep kicking for 10 seconds followed by an equal amount of rest time.

“Focusing on breathing technique in the shower will help you to be comfortable in water. Kicking your pillows in bed will help to increase your power,” says Fernandes.

You can also use a moderate resistance band (price starting at Rs 350) to train your pulling strength which will come handy for any swim stroke. Loop the resistance band around something steady at the shoulder level. Pull on the bands with both your arms so that they form a “T”. Release slowly.

(Sohini Sen is a former journalist and an avid fitness enthusiast.)

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Topics:  Air Pollution   Exercise   Treadmill 

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