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Woman stretches on yoga mat in front of laptop open to online workout class Woman stretches on yoga mat in front of laptop open to online workout class

6 ways to improve your virtual workouts

Exercising regularly can help your physical and mental health. Yet a common barrier to exercising is finding the time. Recently, more people are turning to online — or virtual —workouts. You can livestream a HIIT class, sweat it out in an on-demand cycling session, or find your flow in a Zoom yoga class — all from the comfort of your home. Maybe you’ve already jumped on this trend or are looking to try an online workout for the first time. Either way, here are 6 tips on how to have a better virtual workout.

Choose a goal

What do you want to accomplish with your workout? Do you want to strengthen your core? Or simply move your body for 20 minutes? Getting specific about your goals can help you find a workout that’s right for you. You’ll also want to set a schedule. Choosing specific days and times to exercise will help you stick with it and meet your goals.

Find the right fit

Before signing up for a virtual workout, make sure to research the class or program to find one that works for you. Check to see if the instructor is credentialed and whether the class requires a fee. Some will let you try a class for no charge or at a discount. You can also read reviews to get a better sense of what the class is like. And once you’re in the class, check in on yourself. It’s OK to take a break — or, if it’s a live class, to ask the trainer for help. They can help you see if you’re using proper form and offer feedback.

Set up space

Just like having a dedicated workspace, it’s important to set up an area for your at-home workouts. The good news — you don’t need to recreate your local gym or fitness studio in your living room. You just need to have enough space to complete your workout. Make sure you have plenty of room to complete the exercises and for any equipment needed. For a yoga class, for example, you’ll need enough room to spread out your mat.

You’ll also want to gather any equipment you need before the workout starts. If you need hand-held weights, take them out about 10 minutes before your workout. You may use your computer to sign in to a class, so find a sturdy spot to place it where you can see the screen. And remember to have a water bottle or, if needed, gym towel nearby to use during your workout.

Find a connection

While it may seem hard to connect over a screen, it is possible. Try to join live fitness classes when you can, and then sign in a few minutes early. That way you have time to not only prep for the workout, but also chat with your classmates. And the same goes for the end of class. Don’t just sign off as soon as the class is over. Instead, stay on for a few minutes after. You can stretch and even connect with others, just like at an in-person class.

Share your progress

Tracking your progress is a great way to see if you’re meeting your goals. But sharing with a friend, trainer, or coach has additional benefits, too. A recent study found that when people shared health data with a coach, they had better success with weight loss management.* You can consider sharing your progress with a trainer or wellness coach. Or, choose a friend who you feel comfortable sharing with.

Change it up

One key to keeping up with your workouts? Variety. If you find yourself in a rut or have trouble sticking to a schedule, try a new class. You can find many online options, including Pilates, weightlifting, and even ballet. And consider trying classes of different lengths. Some classes are as short as 4 — yes, 4 — minutes. It’s also a good way to try something new to see if you like it.

Virtual workouts can be a great way to stay active. As with any activity, you’ll want to do what feels comfortable for you. For more tips and resources, visit our Stay Active site.

 

*“Does Sharing Data Help with Weight Loss?”, ScienceDaily, December 14, 2020.

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