Updated: Jul 9, 2020
Most of us appreciate the free workouts available in different platforms such as Youtube or Twitch; however, it is important that every physical activity you do, is done in a safe way. Remember that your favourite Youtube instructor doesn't know you, she is not watching your form in order to correct it, and she may not even be an instructor after all. This doesn't mean you shouldn't do free youtube exercises, but there are rules to follow in order to avoid injuries and assure a long-lasting relationship with your active lifestyle:
✏️ Make sure you have a fast internet connection. You can improve it by getting closer to the router and/or turning off the wifi for other devices at home. This is for live-streams. Pre-recorded videos don’t necessarily require fast internet but most of them run ads that can interrupt your workout in the time you need ti watch the most, so downloading the video to your device or letting the entire video with ads run before starting to move, then rewinding works.
✏️ As if you were going to attend a live class at your local gym, try to spare uninterrupted time slot for the length of the video.
✏️ Dress in sport attire. Proper training shoes and a supporting bra are the most important items. There are exceptions though, if you are doing a barre, yoga or pilates class, shoes may not be needed but be mindful that some barre or pilates programs have some cardio component which are better done with proper shoes. If you have a carpet, try to still wear indoor shoes for the cardio aspect.
✏️ Drink at least 250 ml water 15 minutes before exercising and stay hydrated during your workout.
✏️ Beware of your target heart rate zone. This is important not only to keep you safe, but also to get the most out of your workout. In order to find your target heart rate zone, subtract your age to 220 (220 - 30 years old = 190), then multiply the result by 0.65 (190 x 0.65 = 123.5), and again by 0.85 (190 x 0.85 = 162). These numbers mean that during the intense part or peak cardio (which is normally in the middle) of your workout your heart rate should increase between 65% and 85%. If you have a watch that measures your heart rate this is easy, otherwise you can check it in your pulse inside your wrist or your neck. Then count the number of beats per 10 seconds then multiply it by 6, that's your heart rate per minute or RPM. Alternately, you can take your pulse for 30 seconds and double it up. Just when I thought math problems were far behind! but no worries, you will get to know your target heart rate zone instantly as you get use to exercising frequently.
✏️ Be mindful of neighbours, if you make so much noise they may get jealous that you're having so much fun. Maybe ask them to join you or wear airpods or inalambric headphones.
✏️ Remove furniture as much as possible to avoid accidents, or make sure you try out the room by extending your arms up and to the sides, getting on a plank, then counting 4 steps to the front, to the back as well as each side.
✏️ Have a towel or paper towel if you tend to sweat a lot.
✏️ Every move has a base option (smaller range of motion, no jumping, slower pace, etc) do what is more comfortable to your body. As a general rule each set of most movements compounds 8 repetitions, if the instructor is counting 4-5-6-7-8, 8-7-6-5-4. You can reduce intensity by doing the movement half the speed, for example: 4-pause-6-pause-8-pause, and then 7-pause-5-pause-3-pause...
✏️ As the instructor is not able to see you, beware of your body, and do what feels comfortable. Alignment and proper form are more important than getting results the video promises (if any) or sweating your calories away. Watch the movement before doing it, pause the video if you can't get it right; and whenever possible, watch the entire video before doing it at all.
✏️ Make sure you tell someone that you’ll be doing physical activity from x time to y time. Especially if you are alone, give them your phone number and get them to message you once the class has ended to check you’re not passed out in your living room.
✏️ Pets are tripping hazards, so if they are not used to seeing you dancing or jumping around the house, be mindful they can get hurt.
✏️Last but not least, fuel properly within 45 minutes after your workout. For a low-intensity workout have a snack containing complex carbohydrates and healthy fats, for a moderate-intensity workout include protein and healthy fatty acids, and for a high-intensity workout choose primarily carbohydrates.