Indoor Tracks for Walking Workouts

Get a walking workout on an indoor track

Seniors walking on indoor track
Walking an Indoor Track. Vicky Kasala/The Image Bank/Getty Images

An indoor track is a great way to get in a walking or running workout away from the weather. Whether you live in a climate that is too hot and you want to stay cool, or too cold and you want to avoid frostbite, or too wet and you don't want to melt in the rain, an indoor track is a solution.

Advantages of Indoor Tracks for Walking and Running

  • Choose Your Speed: Unlike walking at a mall or getting your walking workout on the sidewalk, you don't have to feel self-conscious about walking vigorously. Stroll, speed walk, racewalk, jog or run without feeling out of place.
  • Climate Control: No rain, snow, heat or wind to contend with. It may not be perfect, but it probably beats what's going on outdoors, and it is consistent. You'll know how to dress for it from day to day. Plus, they keep the lights on, you don't have to worry about walking in the dark.
  • Closed Course: You can time yourself as the distance around the track is known and usually posted. You won't have obstacles in your path or traffic lights to slow you down. Indoor tracks designate which direction all must circle, usually alternating days.
  • Changing Scenery: While a treadmill provides many of the same benefits as an indoor track, with an indoor track you are actually circling the facility. Many have windows so you can view the scenery or may be above or alongside a pool or sport court so you can watch the action.
  • GPS Speed and Distance Monitoring: Because you are moving by changing location continuously, GPS speed and distance monitors may work if they can acquire the satellite inside the building. These do not work on a treadmill because you are not changing location.
  • Surface Appropriate for Walking and Running: Properly designed indoor tracks use a surface that is gentle on the joints, as opposed to the concrete surface found inside malls.
  • Safety and Security: You won't have any traffic hazards, loose dogs, uneven surfaces or lurking muggers.
  • Restrooms, Water and Showers: Almost all indoor track facilities have locker rooms and full amenities. You don't have to carry a water bottle, you can use the water fountain. You don't have to worry about being too far from a restroom if you have bladder issues or get runner's trots.

    Drawbacks of Indoor Tracks

    • Monotony: The scenery may change a bit but it still may be mind-numbing to circle and circle and circle.
    • No Incline: Indoor tracks are level, so you don't get any hill training if you only use an indoor track. To get hill training or increase your heart rate, you may want to leave the track and walk up and down stairs in the facility every few minutes.
    • Circling One Direction: Circling only in one direction for more than an hour at a time may lead to muscle imbalance. Tracks usually alternate directions each day, but your workout schedule may mean you end up always going clockwise and never counter-clockwise. Be aware of this and aim to add in the other direction in your daily activities.
    • Membership Cost: Indoor tracks are usually found in facilities that require a membership or usage fee.

    Where to Find Indoor Tracks

    • Private athletic clubs
    • Public recreation facilities
    • School athletic facilities
    • Community recreation centers
    • Workplace recreation facilities

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