Keeping Active in the Offseason in Charlotte

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“Better out than in” is a motto many bikers, runners, hikers and climbers share. But when the weather outside is frightful, even the hardiest outdoor lover may start looking for indoor options to stay active and in shape. Here, a few ways to get moving around Charlotte, while staying safe from winter’s worst weather.

Ice Skating

Extreme Ice Center

The balance and coordination that’s required to keep your rear off the ice works your core and balance. The small stabilizer muscles used in ice skating can help improve the agility needed for other sports such as trail running.

“Ice skating requires a lot of mobility; a lot of ranges of motion are going on along with balance and coordination,” said Amy Johnson, skating and strength and conditioning coach at the Extreme Ice Center, in Indian Trail. “People who do things like trail running and mountain biking require a lot of reaction, lower body endurance and strength. Ice skating goes hand-in-hand with those activities.”

At the Extreme Ice Center, the  full range of on-ice activities include youth and adult leagues as well as adult open skate times for rookie skaters. And if you want to be seriously humbled, check out a home game of the Lady Checkers, a Charlotte-based women’s hockey team whose home ice is at the center.  There's also an on-site fitness facility.

If your workout is particularly bruising, ease your pain (and battered self-esteem) with a pint of craft beer at Center Ice Tavern.

Trampoline Workouts

Sky Zone

Playing dodgeball in a room made of trampolines is just pure fun. And that's just one of the jumping experiences offered at Sky Zone Charlotte , a wall-to-wall trampoline park in Pineville, NC. In addition to Skyrobics, a high-energy, low-impact routine that strengthens core muscles and fires up the cardiovascular system, other offerings include the Sky Slam basketball court, where you can practice dunking, and the Foam Zone pit, for fine-tuning flips and jumps. Plus, multiple courts are open for Ultimate Dodgeball, as well as a large open jump area for general bouncing around.

But don't be fooled by how much fun you're having. “You can burn 1000 calories an hour (in Skyrobics),” said Brian Spicker, franchise owner of Sky Zone Charlotte. “Several UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) fighters include trampoline workouts in their training.”

Indoor Rock Climbing

Rob Glover

Rock climbing requires a ton of upper body and core strength. And while indoor climbing will certainly help outdoor climbers stay in shape, there’s evidence that the sport is a great option for any athlete looking to keep an edge in the offseason. According to a 2003 study in the British Journal of Sport Medicine, sport rock climbing requires a significant amount of whole body aerobic capacity.

To keep up that form during the winter months, rock jocks head to Inner Peaks Climbing Center, the only full-scale indoor rock climbing facility between Raleigh and Atlanta. The 13,000-square-foot center offers 50 total rope stations, a large bouldering area and a lead cave. The climbing walls reach up to 25 feet and include routes easy enough for beginners yet difficult enough to challenge seasoned climbers.

The climbing center also has a separate cardio and strength training area, a slack line for balance training, and shower/locker facilities.

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