As gyms and sports facilities closed across America and the world due to the Covid-19 pandemic, more people began working out at home than ever before in early 2020. And though many facilities have now reopened, home workouts remain enduringly popular.
There are many benefits to exercising at home. It can be cheaper than a gym membership. You do not need to travel anywhere. If you have children, you can exercise while they sleep or play, without needing to worry about getting a babysitter. Those who feel self-conscious about exercising in front of others can benefit from the extra privacy. And, given the vast array of affordable or free workout videos available online, home fitness allows you to try out lots of different exercises to see what works best for you.
However, any kind of fitness regime comes with some risks. Here are a few of our top tips to help you stay safe when you start working out at home.
It can be tempting to go all-out in your first workout sessions, believing that this approach will offer the biggest fitness benefits. But this is a mistake and going too hard too quickly can lead to injury.
Instead, start slowly. If you’d like to work up to doing 30 minute HIIT workouts, begin with 10 minutes and build up your endurance. If you’re interested in increasing your flexibility, start with beginner stretching workouts and don’t expect to do the splits in your first session.
Aside from increasing your risk of injury, starting too intensely can also lead to burnout and frustration. This makes you more likely to quit, negating the benefits of working out entirely.
Pay attention to your form
If you’re stretching, lifting weights, or doing bodyweight exercises, form is the first thing you absolutely must get right. If you perform an exercise incorrectly, you won’t get the benefits from it and you might end up injured.
There are many excellent instructional videos online to help you learn how to perform exercises correctly. Doing them in front of a mirror the first few times can help you check your form.
If in doubt, it can be worth paying for one or two sessions with a personal trainer, either at your home or at the gym. They can show you how to do the moves correctly and safely, keeping you safe and increasing the effectiveness of your future workouts at home.
Set up your space
Before you start, take a few minutes to set up your workout space. Make sure that you have enough space and that the floor around you is clear of anything you could step on or fall over. If the floor is slippery, put down a yoga mat or something similar to give you some extra grip.
Don’t forget about temperature, too. Exercising in a space that’s too hot or too cold can be uncomfortable and can increase your risk of getting hurt or feeling unwell during your workout. The ideal temperature for most people will be around 68-72F.
Use recovery wear
Keeping yourself safe and healthy doesn’t stop when your workout finishes. Using recovery wear is a great way to aid your body’s natural healing processes and keep your muscles strong and healthy.
Our Incrediwear recovery products use scientifically-proven technology to reduce inflammation and swelling, speed up recovery, and reduce pain, all without the need for compression.
Choose recovery garments based on the type of workout you’re doing and where you typically feel pain or soreness after exercising. For example, runners may benefit from using leg sleeves, while those who lift weights may find an arm sleeve particularly helpful.
Warm up and cool down properly
When you’re in a hurry, it can be tempting to skip the warmup and cooldown phase of your workout. However, this is a big mistake and drastically increases your risk of both injury and post-exercise pain.
Aim to warm up for at least five minutes before you begin your main routine. Incorporate some light cardiovascular activity and some stretching, aiming to gradually increase your heart rate. Your cool down period should last for about the same amount of time, bringing your heart rate down and ending with some static stretches.
If you’re not sure how to warm up and cool down correctly, there are many short warmup and cooldown videos online that you can follow along with.
Listen to your body
Your body is smart and wants to keep you safe. Your workout will feel tough at times—this is how you improve and get fitter. But if you feel more intense pain or something doesn’t feel right, stop. It is better to cut one workout short than to be out for weeks or months due to a preventable injury.