It seems CRAZY to be talking about this in February, but it appears that Melbourne Winter has started early again and it's time to move sport and exercise back indoors. It's easy to just forget about exercise throughout Winter, but it's not a viable option in Melbourne. Nine months without use will cause muscle decommission, a re-aggravation of old injuries, and (of course) a dramatic drop in cardiovascular fitness.
To help support you all in avoiding a Winter hibernation, I made this short list of indoor Winter sports you can do in and around Melbourne.
Indoor Cricket at Action Indoor Sports
Indoor cricket is NOT just regular cricket played indoors. Teams are limited to 6 or 8 players, and games last 12-16 overs. Runs can be scored either by running between wickets or with bonuses by hitting specific zones on the walls. You can score runs more quickly, and games last much shorter than they do in regular cricket.
Action Indoor Sports is the largest chain of indoor stadiums in Australia, and their stadiums are one of the few places in Melbourne that are open to the public to play indoor cricket. If you can wrangle 12-16 people to make up two teams, having a regular Saturday afternoon game is an excellent way to maintain fitness over Winter.
Swimming at MSAC
Melbournians are very lucky to have MSAC. It is the primary training facility for the Victorian Institute of Sport, and it's set-up as a very professional venue, yet it is still open to the public. If you're already a proficient swimmer, then you can go and swim in one of their indoor or heated outdoor pools whenever you want. If you aren't a strong swimmer yet, they also have adult swim classes.
Swimming is low-impact, so it's suitable for almost everyone, regardless of injury. It is also easily measurable so that you can track your progress. Swimming is a great sport to increase fitness over Winter, and you don't have to rely on other people to participate.
Indoor Cycling at DISC
Melbourne has one of only a few indoor velodromes that is open to the public. The Darebin International Sports Centre (DISC) Velodrome is an indoor cycling track, designed for professionals, but anyone can use it. It's not the kind of place to go to if you're new to cycling, but if you're already a confident cyclist, then it's the perfect place to keep up your bike fitness through Winter.
Like swimming, cycling is a low-impact sport. However, repetitive strain injuries do happen on bicycles, so don't skip your warm-up or cool-down, especially in Winter.
Rock Climbing at Hardrock
Rock climbing is more fun on an actual rock face, but they're a while out of the city, and they're dangerous in the cold and wet. Luckily, Melbourne has an indoor rock climbing centre right in the CBD. Hardrock caters to beginner-to-intermediate climbers. They have beginner classes, and you can rent all of the gear you need from them.
Rock climbing is NOT a low-impact sport. You will get very tight lats; you will get very tight forearms, and you will likely get some bruises from slamming into a wall. All that being said, it is a terrific sport to maintain and build upper body strength through Winter.
Futsal at APISC
There are futsal stadiums all over the city, but I mention Albert Park Indoor Sports Centre (APISC) because it's very close to South Yarra Spine & Sports Medicine, and I know a lot of my patients use it.
Futsal is a soccer derivative, with five players per side, played with a small ball on a small, hard-surface court. The little court means that players a forced to pass more often and be more deliberate with the ball. This, and the hard court lead to fewer injuries, so is good for people who are just wanting to use futsal to maintain fitness throughout Winter.
Any sport you can do over Winter is better than no sport. Melbournians are lucky to have access to these five sports, and all the other indoor sports we have access to, so check them out in the next few months. Melbourne's predictably unpredictable weather can be a drag, but the upside is all the indoor stadiums letting us compete, even when it's raining.
For more information on Winter sports, email me directly via the contact page. For specific information on an injury you have, or for treatment, contact one of my clinics directly. You can find that information here.
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Dr Mitch Clark