Let’s face it: getting to the gym isn’t always the best option for exercise.
Whether it’s financial restrictions, freezing rain, or just the struggle of getting out of the house, having a repertoire of good indoor exercise options is a smart way to keep your fitness and health goals on track.
Losing weight, strengthening muscles and ligaments that support your heel and arches, and enjoying the rush of endorphins and other health benefits that go hand in hand with exercise are all good reasons to continue your exercise routine at home, even when the gym or outdoor exercise aren’t options.
But what are the best indoor exercise programs and routines that you can do with plantar fasciitis?
(Hint: It’s not P90X!)
The Best Indoor Exercises for Plantar Fasciitis
When it comes to indoor exercise programs, Insanity and P90X are two of the most popular options out there. But with all those jumps, lunges, and sudden movements, both are much too high-impact for individuals who suffer from plantar fasciitis.
If you have heel pain from plantar fasciitis, you’ll want to avoid anything with lots of jumping, bouncing, running in place, lunges, or plyometrics.
And no matter which indoor exercise program you choose, you’ll want to choose high-quality, supportive footwear combined with orthotic inserts to support and realign arches.
Make sure to stretch before and after any kind of exercise to warm up and stretch your muscles and ligaments, and keep your doctor in the loop before you start any new exercise program.
Best Low-Impact Indoor Cardio Exercise Programs
Cardio is important for weight loss, heart health, and so many other health benefits that come from getting your heart rate up and your body moving.
While many types of cardio can be a big no-no for plantar fasciitis sufferers, including running and some types of sports, the following exercise programs are easy on your heels while giving you all the benefits of a great cardio workout:
High Intensity Interval Training is a great way to get your cardio in at home. And don’t let the name fool you! High intensity doesn’t have to mean high impact. This type of workout alternates between bursts of activity and recovery periods to get your heart pumping. While there are many types of HIIT workouts to choose from, make sure to opt for a low-impact HIIT program (there’s a lot!)
Recommended: XTrain’s All Out Low Impact HIIT DVD (the only equipment needed is set of light hand weights)
Recommended: HASFit’s Low Impact Cardio HIIT (Many of these workouts are free and available online!)
While many people associate aerobics with a lot of jumping and dancing, many exercise programs have been developed as low-impact alternatives to all the heavy footwork, by using elements from pilates and yoga combined with aerobics. Look for programs that skip running in place, jumping, and kicking.
I would definitely try Ellen Barrett videos. They are a combination of Pilates, Yoga and Aerobics.
Recommended: Ellen Barrett’s Fusion Floor Workout (no standing necessary, but you’ll get that heart rate up!)
Seated Cardio Exercises
Yes, it’s a thing! If standing is too painful with your plantar fasciitis and heel pain, there are many exercise programs that can be done for home, using only a chair. Stay seated the whole time, but get that blood pumping!
Recommended: SparkPeople’s Seated Cardio (Totally free!)
Low-Impact Indoor Strength Exercise Programs
Looking to tone your muscles and develop greater strength at home? You’re in good company. The following exercise programs will help strengthen and tone your core and key muscle groups, no special equipment required.
Pilates is all about building endurance, flexibility, and muscles strength–with low impact moves. There’s no special equipment required, meaning it can be done at home in your living room! Routines are typically short, and often focused on a particular muscle group or section of the body.
Recommendation: FitnessBlender offers tons of free, low impact pilates routines that you can do at home
Tai Chi, an Eastern discipline, can be a terrific option for strength training and muscle building. The fluid motions and very low impact exercise can be a great way to build and align muscles in the legs and feet, which support your arches.
Recommendation: Tai Chi Health offers a terrific program that lays out options for all ability levels, including a completely seated program.
Yoga or Pi-Yo
Yoga and Pi-Yo (a workout that combines moves from both yoga and pilates) are two of the best low-impact strength-training options for individuals with plantar fasciitis. Both styles of exercise focus on flexibility, strength in core muscle groups, and creating alignment throughout the body. Many of the moves will allow you to stay seated, or can be modified to take pressure off tender heels and feet.
What’s your favorite low-impact cardio or strength regimen? Share your recommendations in the comments below! Because no matter how you choose to stay active with plantar fasciitis, you should feel proud of your efforts to stay fit and healthy. Keep up the good work!