Last summer, I surprised even myself when I took up jogging. As a dyed-in-the-wool indoor kid, the very thought of running for any purpose other than to catch a bus had been preposterous to me. But I soon found that with the right music (I'm lookin' at you, Le Tigre, opens a new window!) and the right setting (no steep hills, please!), I actually looked forward to starting my day zooming around the neighborhood in my dorky orange running shoes.
However, now that we're in the bitterly cold throes of mid-winter, my enthusiasm has decidedly waned. Why go out into the cold gray world when I can spend the morning indoors where the blankets and heaters are?
Well, thanks to hoopla, opens a new window and their awesome collection of free streaming fitness videos, I can get my daily endorphin rush and stay indoors where the blankets and heaters are! For fitness videos with multiple workouts, check out the exercise videos in the television, opens a new window category. For fitness videos with just one workout, explore those in the movies, opens a new window category.
Here are just a few of the videos I've been trying out while I await the return of jogging weather:
Gaiam: Quickstart Pilates For Weight Loss, opens a new window
As a fitness newbie and a tragically uncoordinated person, I tend to have a hard time keeping up and following along with some fitness videos. Not so with Quickstart Pilates! This 30-minute workout is leisurely paced, with clear, simple prompts and instructions from trainer Ana Cabán (who is doing pilates atop a wooden table by the sea for reasons unknown). I only mixed up my left and right four or five times, and the workout was challenging enough that my muscles still felt pleasantly sore the next day. Check out the dozens of Gaiam fitness videos, opens a new window available for streaming right now!
The Firm: 500 Calorie Workout, opens a new window
Kelsie Daniels is another instructor who makes following along easy, providing straightforward instructions before launching into each new exercise. Consider yourself warned, however: this is a super challenging, extremely high energy workout, and I personally didn't know that 2 pound hand weights could feel as heavy as a small child! Thankfully, Daniels offers a more approachable "beginner's modification" for most of the moves. If you're a fan of The Firm series, we've got plenty of Firm workouts, opens a new window to choose from.
Happy Yoga: Rainbow Sunrise Chair Yoga, opens a new window
Some mornings, me and my occasionally creaky knees just can't summon the gusto for an intense cardio workout. Sarah Starr's chair yoga videos, opens a new window are a subtly energizing alternative when I need to start the day with something a little more low-key. Each video features Starr and her trusty chair in a different natural setting, and they're perfect for beginning yogis thanks to Starr's accessible, jargon-free instruction. Plus, I can show off my new chair yoga moves to my co-workers while I'm at my desk!
Richard Simmons: Sweatin' to the Oldies, opens a new window
Honestly, Richard Simmons is so hilarious and lovable that I'd be happy watching his workout videos without even exercising. But his enthusiasm and energy are so infectious that it's impossible not to dance right along with him and his tan little legs! Plus, the people in his videos are a refreshing departure from the precision-toned hardbodies we're accustomed to seeing nowadays: all sorts of body types are represented, and they're absolutely crushing the aerobics routines as Simmons cheers them on. Get your Simmons fix with hoopla's collection of his fitness videos, opens a new window today!