I've owned a treadmill forever. I've walked on it with books. I've jogged on it while watching movies. I've run on it with my iPod. But what I've longed for is a video that would simulate being outside running some trail in a beautiful place. I found Virtual Active's 35 minute videos that take you running, or hiking or cycling in stunning locales. Here, see what I mean.
That one is at running pace. This next one is a little slower at a walk/hike pace. This next one also shows the two options you have between guided workouts (which means a "coach" will periodically give you tips and suggestions) and basic (which means just the scenery). I've only bought the basic since I just wanted it for the scenery.
I've downloaded six of them so far. To my surprise, my favorite of the six is the American Northeast run. I also enjoy the otherworldly feel of the American Southwest 2 run.
As you can tell, the videos have a techno music with them. Many also have some nature sounds mixed in. So when you run past Niagara falls or on the shore of Lake Tahoe, you hear the water in addition to the music. I like that. While I'm not a big techno music fan, I generally haven't minded the music in these. It keeps you going.
The other thing that keeps you going is the fact the the scenery changes about every 5 1/2 minutes. That's a perfect switch-it-up frequency to keep it interesting. It makes me want to press on to see where this next trail will lead to - they always lead to gorgeous vistas.
The only downside I've found so far is that a couple of the videos (the Swiss Alps run I recall) have a song on the soundtrack I dislike. It's mostly instrumental but the beat is a little edgier than I want it to be and there is a line that is mumbled in the song about "the devil's playground." It ruins the moment for me as I feel it's the exact opposite of the stunning scenery. So I'm going to create my own soundtrack to play on my iPod while I do those videos. (The DVDs let you turn the music off if you wish and just hear location sounds.)
I talked with the company recently to suggest a Hawaii run, which they said they already have in the works. And they offered to give my readers a discount. If you purchase anything from their site before the end of the year, just enter the code rachelolsen and you'll get 10% off the entire order. That means you can try one of these downloads for about $7 or a DVD for about $18.
If you have a piece of stationary exercise equipment, this is a fun tool for getting or staying in shape this winter. (Can't you use that after all this holiday eating?!) Or take these to the gym on your iPad. Oh, and if you happen to try their California Wine Tour videos, let me know how you like it because I want to try that next.