Taking outdoor sports indoors

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Posted on: 11 June 2014 by Paris Mitropoulos

We Brits love our sports, but as we know there is one thing that can literally put a dampener on our pursuit of sport, health and fitness – the weather.

Sure, there are probably some people who think our unreliable climate lends a certain unique charm to the day – but really who enjoys going for a run and being sprayed by dirty puddles as cars drive past? Fortunately, thanks to competition venues like Lee Valley Athletics Centre and unique new businesses like Athlete Lab, we have a number of suitable indoor venues in which we can pursue our sporting goals – whatever the weather.

Running can be perilous or just plain unpleasant in different types of weather. In heavy rain you face the challenge of puddles and decreased visibility, while too much sun and high temperatures can be hard on your skin, make hydration more of a battle and generally lead to overheating. Indoor running lets you get the best out of the experience rain, hail or shine, and there are few better places for this than the Lee Valley Athletics Centre in Enfield. Opened in 2007, the complex is the largest indoor and outdoor athletics facility in the south east of England. Under its roof Lee Valley Athletics Centre boasts a 200 metre six lane running track and sprint straights of 60 metres and 130 metres. When you pay a membership fee to use the tracks, you will also be entitled to use of the venue’s cardiovascular fitness area, strength and conditioning suite and circuit training classes.

Not only do we lack the climate for winter sports in London, we haven’t exactly got the landscape for them either. Who needs Chamonix when you have Chiswick though. Skiplex in the west London district is very different from your traditional dry ski slope – it’s not you that moves, it’s the slope. Confused? Basically skiers kit up as normal with their skis and poles and enter a relatively small arena, where the slope then starts to revolve underneath in the same way that a treadmill does. Also similarly to a treadmill the gradient and speed  of the slope can be changed, so in one small space you can achieve a steep downhill ski at 25 miles per hour.

Cycling is another sport where the rain in particular can be a menace – puddles, slippery surfaces and of course that double whammy of the rain from above AND your rear wheel spraying it up your back. Previously the best suggestion for indoor cycling would have been to go to a spin class at your local health club, but at Athlete Lab in central London you can go one better than that. The facility is equipped with state of the art Adjustabikes, which have all the features of real road bikes, and simulated surroundings that give you the sensation of going out for a proper cycle on the open road. An added bonus of cycling at Athlete Lab is the provision of real time training data.

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