Like many teachers working on ways to teach through COVID-19 restrictions, fitness instructors at Davidson Fitness Center are working on ways to teach their classes online.
Until that happens, however, instructors are advising clients to keep up their fitness levels at home — and do so with safety in mind.
“There are a lot of exercises you can do at home by yourself and without equipment,” explained Dajana Thomas, Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation fitness coordinator.
Since in-person fitness classes were postponed, Thomas and other instructors are directing clients to join the “Gym Junkies!!” private Facebook page, located at https://www.facebook.com/groups/145761532248153/.
“Our fitness instructors who usually teach in DFC are going virtual and teaching their classes (online) to help our customers keep up their workout routines,” she said. “Patrons can find the virtual class times and information on (the Facebook page).”
Types of exercises
Exercises generally fall into three groups: aerobic exercise, like walking and running that increase the heart rate, balance and stretching exercises that promote flexibility and stability, and muscle-building activities that include isotonic exercises, like lifting weights, and isometric exercises, where muscles work against each other. All three types are important to maintain health and avoid injury.
“Some stretches you can do include the standing quad stretch, the downward dog (yoga pose), the active hamstring stretch, seated forward bend, lying low-back twists, the shoulder stretch and the triceps stretch,” Thomas said.
“Cardio can include things like alternating jogging in place with other cardio exercises, such as marching, jumping rope, step touches and more,” she added.
Instructors often recommend breaking up strength training by alternating workouts and concentrating on different muscle groups each day.
“A leg and glute workout could include lunges, squats, calf raises, glute bridge, leg raises and side-leg raises, burpees and jumping jacks,” Thomas said. “A core workout could include crunches, cross crunches, cycling crunches, elbow planks, side planks, flutter kicks and mountain climbers.”
Likewise, an arm workout could include, “bicep dips, superman presses, shoulder taps, plank holds and push-ups,” Thomas said.
In addition to getting a good workout at home, avoiding injury should also be a key goal, which can be achieved by paying attention, not getting in a hurry and concentrating on proper form.
Thomas said there are numerous online resources that can help illustrate the correct form for most exercises.
“There are videos and many apps that provide us with good workouts,” she said.
Simple ways to avoid injuries when working out
A desire to live a healthy, active life compels many people to include exercise in their daily routines. Numerous studies have shown that regular workouts that include a combination of strength training and cardiovascular exercise can make bodies less susceptible to injury while reducing a person’s risk for conditions such as heart disease, stroke and diabetes.
Exercising is most effective when it’s part of a daily routine, but that routine can be derailed without appropriate measures to avoid injury while working out. While even professional athletes succumb to injury from time to time, there are steps everyone can take to avoid injury when working out.
— Confirm your technique is the right one. Exercise science is continuously evolving, and that means workouts and fitness machines are evolving, as well. When using a piece of equipment for the first time or altering a workout routine, consult with a gym employee, a personal trainer or do independent research online to learn the correct technique. Incorrect technique can lead to minor and serious injuries because muscles are used in ways they are not intended to be used when exercises are performed properly. Take advantage of online video tutorials if you don’t exercise at a gym, to ensure the exercises you want to perform are done properly. When beginning a new routine, ask a friend to observe your workout and let you know if you are doing anything incorrectly.
— Be patient. Lifting too much weight or pushing yourself too hard on the treadmill, exercise bike or elliptical machine can increase your risk of injury. This is especially true for newbies working out for the first time or after lengthy stretches of inactivity. Elderly, inactive and overweight persons are likely to suffer from poor balance because of weak muscles. Those muscles can be strengthened over time but remain patient and stick to light weight during initial workouts so lack of balance does not lead to pain or injury. Take the same approach with aerobic exercise to prevent muscle strains and pulls. Increase weight and the intensity of cardiovascular exercises as muscles gradually strengthen and become accustomed to exercise.
— Allow for adequate time to warm up. Failure to warm up is another contributor to exercise-related injury. Before diving into a workout routine, spend between five and 10 minutes warming up your body with some low-intensity exercises. This increases blood flow to the muscles and makes them more elastic and pliable than cold muscles, thereby improving flexibility. Some low-intensity cardiovascular exercise on the stationary bike or treadmill can greatly reduce injury risk during the workout.
— Vary workouts and exercise regularly. Varying workouts is a good idea because doing so can prevent repetitive-use injuries and prevent overuse of muscles. Repetitive-use injuries such as shin splints and tendinitis require extended rest to heal, and that can derail your routine and nullify your progress. Vary workouts so you are not always working the same muscles, and don’t mistake varying workouts for varying workout schedules. Working out five days one week and one day the next increases your risk of injury.
Injuries sometimes happen when exercising, but veteran and novice fitness enthusiasts can employ a handful of simple strategies to greatly reduce their risk of injury while working out.
(Editor’s note: Information provided by Metro Creative Graphics.)