We know a lot of our clients have taken to exercising at home during the pandemic – and they are certainly not the only ones. If you have found yourself purchasing new equipment, dusting off your old tools, or just more motivated to get moving while staying home, then this blog is for you! It is great to see so many people stepping up their home fitness routines, but it is also important to know the risks and complete the necessary steps to prevent injury. Here are our team’s top tips for safely staying active at home and avoiding home-gym injuries.
Tip #1: Make Your Routine Fit Your Lifestyle
Personalizing your exercise routine is crucial to avoiding injuries and will actually help you enjoy the process as well. Remember that most workout plans, apps, and videos are geared toward the general public, not to individuals like yourself. Don’t push yourself to fit this mould – we always recommend creating modified models, starting slow, and taking more breaks or longer rest periods if need be. If you are struggling to fit in some physical activity throughout your workweek, then break up your routine into smaller chunks that can be done during work breaks. If you’re busy keeping the kids entertained or focused on schoolwork, include them in some fun family fitness time to get the whole household involved. Go for walks, have a dance party, have a chore contest, play in the snow, really anything you can do to get active is always better than not trying at all.
Tip #2: Mix it Up Often
If you do the same routine or exercise every single day, then you are more likely to injure yourself and the muscles most used in those routines. Remember that overusing the same muscles or movement patterns can lead to overuse injuries. Varying your exercise means you can spread out the work and give your body some breaks. Mix in some upper body and lower body exercises, flexibility routines, strength training, and cardio for a balanced routine that does not overwork a certain muscle or muscle group. Switching up your physical activity means you can avoid working the same muscles on back-to-back days and instead target other areas of your body for a complete and safe routine.
Tip #3: Don’t Ignore Pain
Just because you might have more free time and privacy to work out, does not mean you should stop acknowledging or caring about any pain your body feels. Remember that all strength movements should be challenging but not painful. Moving your body in ways that cause pain is simply not healthy and can lead to injury. The motto “no pain, no gain” simply does not apply here and is a dangerous mentality to have when it comes to exercise. Talk to your health care team so that you can identify the difference between muscle soreness and pain. This way, if you ever do experience pain during a specific exercise, you can stop immediately and seek professional advice.
Tip #4: Do More Than Exercise
Staying healthy is more than just physical activity. Make sure you are putting in effort with all the other elements to see the best results. Staying hydrated and getting plenty of sleep is important because most injuries happen when you are dehydrated or tired. Some common signs of dehydration that you should look out for include muscle spasms, cramps, dizziness or light-headedness. Many injuries occur when we are dehydrated or exhausted. Dehydration can show up as muscle spasms, cramps, dry mouth, dizziness or light-headedness, and general tiredness or weakness. All of these signs can also lead to injuries if left unchecked for too long so always seek professional help if you are worried about any of these symptoms. You should always make sure you are giving your body proper hydration, nutrition, sleep, and stretching time when doing any kind of physical activity.
Tip #5: Take Rest Days
This one is not a tip or suggestion but an actual requirement for seeing progress and avoiding injury. Even if you do not feel sore the next day, rest days are essential to building strength and staying healthy. You need to give your body and muscles time to recover and repair from the strain of physical activity so that they can get stronger. Remember that these stronger muscles will also help prevent potential injuries and you are actually making positive progress and changes to your musculoskeletal system during your rest days. You should still do some gentle physical activity on your off days, meaning going for a walk or stretching during work breaks, but you need to always give your body time to renew, regenerate, and recover.
Tip #6: Ask for Professional Help
Above all else, not being afraid to ask for support is the number one way to prevent home-gym injuries. Starting and maintaining a routine on your own can be overwhelming so find a professional that can help answer your questions. Find someone you can consult about form, technique, proper equipment and stretching routines, how to track progress, and how to stay safe and injury-free. Consult your doctor if you are feeling pain, try out a personal trainer or exercise physiologist, or give our physiotherapy team (Baden & Kitchener) a call!
We hope this blog helps you feel safe while staying active at home. Remember that taking the necessary precautions to avoid injuring yourself will only improve your ability and motivation to get moving. There is no sense pushing yourself or rushing into a routine to only hurt yourself and become unable to stay active. We have plenty of Physiotherapy Services (in Kitchener and Baden) to help keep you comfortable while exercising at home and achieve the highest quality of life possible this year – contact our team with any questions you have!
Want more lifestyle advice on how to improve your overall health and wellness? Contact our LiveWell Health and Physiotherapy Kitchener or Baden teams to get more information and book your next appointment. You can also reach out to us by email or social media and one of our team members would be more than happy to answer any of your questions! All of our practitioners have more tips and expert guidance to help improve the overall quality of your life.