Working Out At Home? Lock in Safety!
If you’re trying to keep up with your fitness routine, then these days, you’re definitely doing so at home—maybe in the basement or garage or on the deck. (You can’t hear me but I’m offering a sincere round of applause.) Home workouts, however, present unique safety challenges, especially if you typically exercise in a gym.
We all want to keep going strong while sequestered, right? Then taking precautions is essential. Here are 6 safety steps to take asap:
1. Ramp up slowly. Now that some of us have more time, we’ve jumped into challenging workouts, which is great but MUST be done gradually. Doing too much too soon leads to injury and can halt you in your tracks. Even worse, a medical emergency could be in the cards if you have an underlying condition—ALWAYS consult your physician before beginning a new exercise program.
2. Take a cue from classes & trainers. Never skip a warm up, a stretch afterward, or adaptations to make moves more achievable. Knowledgeable instructors incorporate these elements seamlessly into workouts. You should too. And make sure any internet videos you use do this as well!
3. Beware when switching modes. Different forms of exercise and different equipment impact the body differently. Think about swimming versus running, for example. The latter subjects the body to much higher forces that can set off joint pain. But the former also uses tons of shoulder motion, which could aggravate pre-existing injuries. As for equipment, switching from machines at a gym to free weights, for example, requires higher levels of core engagement, balance, and knowledge of proper form. Consult your trainer or physical therapist for suggestions. Always back off of any exercise that causes pain!
4. Literally lock in safety. Never use barbells without the clips that secure plates in place. Never connect resistance bands to a precarious attachment point (like a door that could fling open or a post that could be pulled over). Do not substitute flimsy chairs for a sturdy bench when lifting weights. Seriously, a trip to the ER could ensue—something no one wants, including the health pros consumed with the current crisis.
5. Wear the right stuff. Shoes are a biggie, especially if you’ve suddenly switched from a treadmill to asphalt streets, for example. And dressing for the ever shifting spring weather patterns will not only keep you comfy but also safe. When temps begin to creep up, switch to light-colored, looser clothing that allows sweat to evaporate and holds heat illness at bay. (Our bodies take a couple of weeks of consistently warm weather to better acclimate to heat, by the way. We’ve not even come close to that yet in Pittsburgh!) Hiking on a cool, drizzly day? Wear layers of wicking fabrics topped by a waterproof layer to avoid potential hypothermia.
6. Avoid isolation during workouts. I admit I often work out without my phone nearby, so I can focus completely. But I’m typically on my deck or in the basement where a lucky family member would hear me hollering should I need assistance. Be sure you always have access to help when exerting yourself. None of us think we’ll need it—til we do.
Keep going strong, friends! Just always be sure to play it safe while kicking butt!!