We’ve all been guilty of planning to go out and hike, climb, run, or take part in some form of outdoor recreation and let dismal weather be the excuse to not go for it. It’s in times like those that it is good to know what options you have to still get your adventure on, but under a roof. Here are a few options for outdoor enthusiasts that don’t want the rainy days to hold them back.

By no means do these options compare to the fresh air, beautiful scenery, and thrill that the outdoor experience provides, but they do give you a great way to keep your body in motion, practice some new skills, and build strength all while increasing the level of confidence in your skills.

An inside look at Louisville’s Mega Cavern inside mountain biking course.
Photo by Team Neon Velo

Indoor mountain bike courses are an incredible find, but are not found as easily as indoor stationary bikes. With these courses, you get to have the full body experience and dirt-to-wheel connection that is so rare to find anywhere indoors. These courses are a favorite for bike junkies to have a place to pedal throughout the winter months as well. Indoor mountain bike courses to look for in the Blue Ridge include The Wheel Mill of Pennsylvania and Kentucky’s Mega Cavern.

Rock climbing gyms are all over the Blue Ridge and are ideal for people of any skill set from first time climbers to those with extensive experience. Rock climbing can burn between 500 to 900 calories per hour making these gyms a great option for summer workouts. An added bonus is that you’re harnessed in with a staff supervised belaying system with mats underneath, providing a safe and forgiving environment in the event that you fall or make a mistake.

Paddling pools are unique in that with limited space and the right equipment, they can simulate a real rowing experience you would find in open waters. From kayaking to rowing, paddle pools hold still water for you to paddle through and test maneuvers through classes and events such as roll clinics where you get to practice how to get right side up in the event that you flipped over in your kayak going down a river. More recently, some of these indoor paddling pools feature rowing tanks. With the intention to improve endurance and technique, the tanks mimic the conditions of open waters as rower sit in fixed positions and different aspects of the moving waters in the tank can be shifted to attempt to recreate specific water types and conditions. Depending on the paddle pool near you, there may even be options to paddle board as well.

Check out what indoor recreation options you have in your area and before you know it, you’ll be hitting the water, climbing rock faces, and shredding the trails all while being inside.

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