5 ways to get the most out of online fitness classes during COVID-19

Given the risks of inaction during the COVID-19 pandemic, staying active is more important than ever. Efforts to reduce the spread of the virus forced us to adapt to how and where we move, which has sparked an explosive growth in online fitness. Zoom, Instagram, Facebook and YouTube are redefining the “home person”.

But with the proliferation of classes in the living room curriculum, it can be difficult to analyze the good and the bad. As researchers, fitness professionals, and experts in behavior change and online fitness delivery, we want to help you move around safecovidly, find activities you enjoy, and choose workouts that will help you reach your goals, no matter if you’re new to. fitness on the Internet or not.

1. Safety first

Are you ready to move on? The Canadian 24-hour traffic regulations recommend a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous aerobic exercise per week and strength training two or more days per week. If you’re just starting out, sticking to or breaking rules, self-esteem and / or discussion with your therapist can help make sure you’re ready to move on. From there, think:

The authority of the person leading your class. Has your instructor earned a BA in Health / Fitness? Were they certified by an accredited committee such as the American College of Sports Medicine or the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology? Your instructor’s credentials are important to both your safety and your fitness performance.

Check yourself during class. How much do you work? One way to monitor your effort is to use a Perceived Stress Rating (RPE) scale from zero (no effort; for example, when sitting or lying on the couch) to 10 (maximum effort; hardest thing I’ve ever done). maybe work). While the intensity varies from person to person and varies by fitness class, you can start by setting your zone to moderate to high (four to seven out of 10 on the RPE scale).

Another easy way to check-in with your intensity during class is by using the talk test: if you can’t maintain a conversation while exercising, try lowering the intensity. If you could belt out your favourite song, you can try bringing the intensity up a notch.

Setting up your environment for safety.  Is your home gym also the office, living room and/or bedroom? Whatever your set-up, make sure you clear some space, have some water handy, keep equipment off to the side, optimize your view of your computer/phone/tablet and consider what footwear is necessary.

2. The fun factor

What do you like to do? Put the fun back in your workout! As adults, we tend to focus on the workout, and not the fun, but research shows that the best way to maintain your fitness habit is to keep your exercise enjoyable. This means you should be having fun during your workout, so you can bask in that post-exercise glow.

If you’re getting bored of your usual fitness routine, change it up! Now, more than ever, there are (nearly) endless online options for you to try out — from dance to yoga to boxing to bootcamps, and everything in between. To avoid boredom, also consider variety (it is the spice of life, after all). Not only have researchers found that variety is linked with greater physical activity, the Canadian 24-hour Movement Guidelines also suggest a range of activities in order to improve heart and bone health, muscular fitness and overall well-being.

3. Availability and access

What can you take part in and at what cost? Some programs have on-demand classes, others offer live programs and some do both. There are many free options: for example, Yoga with Adriene, Lululemon at home classes and a range of paid memberships such as Your Truth Online, AloMoves and Peloton.

Love supporting local? Check out the fitness studios in your city or province; many are now offering online classes.

4. The perks

What else are you getting out of your workout? Do you receive additional motivational cues and support, like quick tips, check-ins or words of wisdom during your class?

A great fitness instructor holds an important leadership role and is essential for creating a positive environment — whether in person or on online. We know that the motivational environment created by your instructor is key to ensuring you enjoy your class, which is as important as the actual exercise for helping you develop the habit of engaging in regular physical activity. Instructors are also in a great position to help you set and check in with your goals.

New to goal setting or not getting it from your instructor? Try setting a SMARTT goal (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, timely, together) for your activity.

5. Be kind to yourself

How are you treating yourself? As you start or continue your fitness journey, remember, these are unprecedented times, and we have all had to make some pretty big changes and sacrifices. Practising self-compassion as you navigate your (new) fitness routine can help you feel better.

Start by noticing your self-talk: How do you speak to yourself when class gets hard? If you find it is more negative than positive, flip the script and speak to yourself like you would a dear friend.

Do you think you are the only one struggling? Remember, many of us are new to online fitness and are at different stages of our fitness journeys. Building a new habit is never without its struggles!

Are you on auto-pilot? Next time you start a fitness class, turn off emails and put your phone away; focus on doing one thing at a time.

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, physical activity is one way to take care of yourself physically, mentally, emotionally and (if in a group-based fitness class) socially. There are so many available fitness opportunities that it can be overwhelming. These quick tips can help you to start or maintain your fitness routine, try out new activities with local and international instructors and create lasting behaviour change so that you can keep moving more — redefining the “homebody!”