Welcome to the era of the at-home workout. As many of us “shelter in place,” our homes have not only become our workplaces and schoolhouses, but also our gyms. If you are rusty or experiencing some aches and pains from your new workout routine, here are some things to keep in mind.
Mind Your Knees
Do you find your knees aching after a workout? If you think you’re doing something wrong, you might be right. When doing exercises such as lunges and squats, remember to keep your knees from going over your toes; this means you should still be able to see your toes when you look down in a lunging or squatted position. Also, when performing a squat, make sure your weight is in your heels, not your toes. If you have a stability ball, put it up against a wall and rest the middle of your back on the ball while performing squats. This will encourage you further to keep your knees at a 90-degree angle directly over your ankles. According to the Mayo Clinic website on “Knee Pain,” another reason your knees might be bothering you is weak muscles (catch-22, right?) “Weak muscles are a leading cause of knee injuries, [so] you’ll benefit from building up your quadriceps and hamstrings, which support your knees. Balance and stability training helps the muscles around your knees work together more effectively.” There’s no shame in avoiding some exercise altogether. “If you have osteoarthritis, chronic knee pain or recurring injuries, you may need to change the way you exercise. Consider switching to swimming, water aerobics or other low-impact activities — at least for a few days a week,” stated the Mayo Clinic.
Get Your Money’s Worth
We’re not talking about actual cash here, although if you are paying for a gym or online workout membership, you want to be using them as much as possible. Instead, this refers to using your full range of motion in every workout. Yeah, we see you only going halfway to the ground on those pushups! Make each exercise count. Don’t skimp on your range of motion—all the day down, all the way up.
Skimping on Stretching
Don’t skip your stretching. Make sure you participate in active stretching (stretches that get your moving) before a workout and static stretches after your workout (when your muscles are fully warmed up). Also, think about investing in a foam roller. Even if you don’t do a major stretching session right after your workout, you can grab the foam roll at night while you’re watching TV and watch from the carpet while you do some self-myofascial release (basically a fancy term for a deep-tissue massage you give yourself!) The Mayo Clinic states that “because tight muscles also can contribute to injury, stretching is important. Try to include flexibility exercises in your workouts.”
Give Yourself a Break
Make sure you incorporate rest days. This doesn’t mean you need to “Netflix and chill” all day; instead, change it up with some yoga or a hike. The stretching and fresh air will do a sore body good.
Going it alone
Even if you’ve signed up for online workouts, it’s best to being doing them with a friend so you can keep each other accountable. Send one another a workout selfie (or maybe a funny GIF) every day after you’ve completed your workout. That way, the other person will be encouraged to get their butt in gear. Now, more than ever, we need to help each other out and keep our workouts buddies close—even if we can’t be standing on our tip-toes next to one another at barre classes for a few more months.
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