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Seven tips to keep your home workout injury-free and fun
With gyms and fitness centres closed, more people are working up a sweat from home. Here are some tips to do it safely during bubble life.
We might be confined to our homes during lockdown, but this hasn't stopped the people of Aotearoa working up a sweat in lounges, garages, and gardens right across the country. After all, we're a nation that prides itself on being active.
But staying injury-free is as important as ever while we're in our bubbles. Fewer injuries mean fewer trips to the doctor. And that also helps keep us where we should be – at home.
In 2019 there were 21,437 claims related to home-based sport and recreational injuries. During lockdown, we've seen a 44% drop in these types of claims. While this is good news, some people could be delaying seeking medical help until after the lockdown ends.
But to keep this trend moving in the right direction, there are some simple ways you can prevent injury while working out at home during bubble life.
Tips to keep you smashing your home workout goals
Here are seven tips on enjoying your home workout without ending up on the sidelines.
1. Try not to hit the wall
Maybe your house is feeling a bit more cramped with the whānau around all the time. Maybe having all your flatmates working from home means space is at a premium. Whatever your setup, having a dedicated space with lots of room for your workout will reduce the risk of injury. No one wants to literally hit the wall. Keep the space free from objects, other people, and pets. Interestingly, there were 355 ACC claims related to dogs and cats in the first week of the lockdown, including injuries from tripping over them.
2. Dress for the occasion
Let's face it, we're spending more time in activewear these days than usual. It just means you can flow from couch to burpee seamlessly. For your workout, wear clothing that allows you to move freely, and wear the right footwear. But don't go too quickly from PlayStation to plank – read tip number three...
3. Now you really do have time for warmup and cooldown
Lockdown days can seem endless, but that means you may actually have time to focus on things that, if you're honest, you sometimes skip in the gym. Like the warmup and cooldown. Gently stretch those muscles before hitting play, and once you've finished the 25-push-up Instagram challenge. It's also a good time to work on some of those niggly little aches, pains, and injuries that you wouldn't normally focus on in a gym setting. This includes doing some mobility and stretching exercises to loosen any tight joints and muscles, and doing some exercises to help correct posture or muscle imbalances.
For more warm-up ideas, see our SportSmart website.
4. Stay in the zone
Screen-time gone crazy this month? Distracted by the constant breaking news alerts? TikTok your new obsession? Your workout time is a chance not only for physical activity but some mental focus too. Get rid of distractions and totally focus on your body so that you're less likely to pick up an injury. This is equally important whether you're new to exercising or a seasoned gym bunny.
5. Check you out
Doing an exercise correctly can prevent injury, so this is the perfect excuse to video yourself to see how you're doing. Look for the right posture, position and movement. They all help prevent injuries. Plus, you can post the video on Instagram afterwards (#fitnessgoals). If that's not your thing, do your workout in front of a mirror to check out your form.
6. You're not alone
Zoom calls aren't just for corporate meeting bloopers. Bring the sights and sounds (but not the smells) of a group gym class into your bubble by doing a virtual workout with friends and whānau online. This is also a great chance to get the whole whānau involved in exercise. Just remember to tailor the exercises for each person taking part because tamariki have different abilities than adults.
Exercise is known to make people more productive, resilient and able to deal with stress – something we could all use these days. And rest days are part of exercising. They give your mind and body time to recover, making you fresh for your next workout. Try meditation, or a gentle walk to help with your mental wellbeing as well as your physical condition. The Government’s COVID-19 website has information about mental health and wellbeing during this time.
Although things are out of the ordinary right now, we're still here, helping to prevent injuries and providing care and support if things go wrong.
If you need support from a qualified exercise professional, check out the Register of Exercise Professionals for trainers who have online services ranging from high-intensity training to stretching and yoga.
There are also programmes for specific sports you can learn more about, like touch rugby, netball, and rugby.
The Government's COVID-19 website has information on exercising safely.