Health

Indoor walking workouts

Stay on track with these high-tech tools

First-time mom Jennifer Chicoine was eager to get back to her walking routine after her son Joshua was born late last year. But the biting temperatures and icy sidewalks in her hometown of Thunder Bay, Ont., made walking with her newborn too treacherous. She solved her exercise dilemma by signing up with an online company that creates monthly customized exercise programs for its clients. Now when the weather’s uncooperative, she stays indoors and follows one of the custom DVD workouts they send her each month.

Here are four of the latest high-tech indoor workout tools that offer a motivating mix of personalized workouts, music entertainment and you-can-do-it support.

There are lots of personal trainers offering online exercise programs, but the risk is they’ll sell you the same generic program they’re selling everyone else. With Push, you complete a detailed online questionnaire, and every 30 days you receive a DVD – two strength workouts and one cardio workout – that’s been custom-built for you. You choose the personal trainer, style of music and type of exercise. Want something completely different? Modify your profile and your next DVD will be a whole new mix. The best part, aside from the affordable price ($25 US per month), is that you can choose from thousands of exercises and a multitude of top-notch trainers.

If you’re hooked on walking to music on your iPod or MP3 player, take it to the next level with iTrain. Download their iTread program and Hollywood personal trainer Grace Lazenby will take you on a treadmill walking journey set to motivating music. During all of the walking workouts (there are over two dozen), Lazenby gives you technique and safety tips, cues you to change your speed and incline and cheers you on. iTrain offers nine other kinds of workouts including iStretch, a combination of yoga, Pilates and dance. Workouts start at $1 US, and a year of unlimited downloads is $50 US.

This interactive exercise program lets you use your Sony PlayStation 2 to exercise more than your thumbs. After answering questions about your fitness level, age and weight, an EyeToy:Kinetic virtual personal trainer leads you through your personalized 12-week training program. A tiny video camera (it comes with the program) placed on top of your TV projects your image onto the screen alongside the trainer so you can check your form. Although walking isn’t one of their cardio choices, for $50 US you can choose other non-bouncing options such as yoga, Pilates and resistance training.

For extra fun, choose one of the 22 fitness games. In one game, you score points by punching or kicking blue orbs that appear on the screen and ducking and weaving to avoid red ones. Looking for extra motivation? If you don’t exercise three times a week, you’ll hear about it from your trainer the next time you tune in!

EntreTrainer ($129 US) is the perfect fitness device for TV-loving exercisers who don’t want a personal trainer shouting at them, but need some extra motivation to keep moving. Just strap the wireless heart rate monitor around your chest and place the softball-sized remote near your treadmill, elliptical machine or stationary bike. Once you start moving, the equipment communicates with your TV. If you slow down and your heart rate dips below where it should be, the volume goes down. Stop exercising altogether, and it turns off the TV!