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Outside, In: Gear That Keeps You Fit When It's Cold Out - Explore

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Outside, In: Gear That Keeps You Fit When It's Cold Out

When you can't play outdoors, you tend to get less fit. These at-home devices will help you preserve the strength you'll need to make a gear-laden scramble as soon as the snow melts off the nearest Class IV trail, or to pick up those paddles when that lake finally thaws. 

Bosu exercise ball

The hemisphere-shaped BOSU ball is hard and flat on one side, so it stays stationary. Thomas LaFera, a New York City trainer, suggests stepping onto the Bosu with one leg in a forward lunge, then returning to a standing position for three sets of 10 lunges per side. "It strengthens all those muscles you use when you hike or backpack," he says. For an extra workout, add hand weights or a backpack. $86 TRX kit

Side lunges are great for the hips, hamstrings, quads, lower back, and groin, which means they benefit both backpackers and skiers. The TRX Home Suspension Training Kit makes lunges easier and reduces the risk of knee strain. Anchor the straps to a sturdy door frame, grab the handles, and tighten the straps. Stand to one side, step into a lunge, then go back to standing. Do three sets of 10 on each side. $199

Bike trainer
Stationary bikes can cost hundreds. To save a bundle, use your own bicycle for indoor training. The BLACKBURN Tech Mag 3 Trainer lifts your rear tire off the ground and rolls it against a resistance wheel, which can be set to varying levels of tension. Most bike-stand trainers are a chore to set up, but a threaded axle makes it easy to center your cycle on this stand. $160 Twist elastic band

Shoulders are a major source of pain and discomfort for swimmers and paddlers. To strengthen your rotator cuffs, tie one end of the TWIST Smart Tone elastic band to a doorknob. Stand perpendicular to the door, with the strap in the hand farthest from the door, upper arm at your side, hand straight out in front, but with your elbow at your side. Then swing the strap away from your body. The tension should be light enough for you to do three sets of 10 reps per side. Now reverse the motion, swinging the strap across your stomach. $16 to $22

Climbers know what it's like to struggle with slippery grips. ROCK EXOTICA FatGrips roll and swivel, so you can keep your hands and forearms strong even when ice renders your favorite face unclimbable. Hang one from a pull-up bar. Then put one hand on the bar and the other on the FatGrip for uneven pull-ups. You'll be working the stabilizer muscles in your shoulders and back too. $100 Indoor rower

Most fitness pros scoff at training devices meant to simulate the reality of being outside — many of these types of machines do a good job of draining your wallet and a poor job of replicating the movement you need. But the CONCEPT2 Indoor Rower is an outlier: Olympians invest in it because it improves form and provides an excellent whole-body workout. Climbers tone their back muscles and core and also get a leg and cardio tune-up that they don't get on the rock. $900 Slackline

If you have yard space and a few trees, you'll be hard-pressed to find an activity more fun than slacklining. A simple Red Classic from GIBBON works your legs and core a lot more than you'd guess. String it just a foot above soft ground or snow. It'll wobble like crazy until your skills progress; while you learn, consider supporting the line's midpoint with boxes or chairs. $75

--Michael Frank / BOSU, TRX, and Twist photos: Lori Eanes

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