Too busy to get to the gym? That’s no longer an excuse to not work
out in this high-tech world, where a wealth of options is right at your
“With YouTube, smartphone apps, online streaming, and even good,
old-fashioned DVDs, there are so many choices out there for people looking
for yoga, Pilates, dance, weight training, boot camps—you name it,
there’s a video for it,” says
Christopher Walter, DO, an orthopedic surgeon and sports medicine physician with
St. Joseph Health Medical Group in Fortuna.
So how do you narrow down the choices? The first step is to talk with your
doctor about your wellness goals and get cleared for any new type of exercise
regimen, Dr. Walter says. “Especially if you have a health condition,
it’s important to know what may be off limits for you.”
You also need to think about what type of workout you would enjoy and would
meet your goals. “Maybe you are a runner or walker and you would
like to incorporate some free weights into your week,” Dr. Walter
says. “Or maybe you’ve always wanted to try yoga, or you are
looking for something different to get out of an exercise rut. You want
something that you’ll enjoy but will also challenge you so you get
a good workout.”
Nowadays, it’s even easier to find what you are looking for. Go to
YouTube and search for workout videos, and you’ll be inundated with
choices. “For instance, the BeFit channel alone has workouts from
Jillian Michaels, yoga instructor Tara Stiles and ballet conditioning
from Mary Helen Bowers, who created the Ballet Beautiful workout series,
among many others,” Dr. Walter says. “Similarly, Amazon Instant
Video has a library of workouts available for streaming, including programs
from Michaels and Denise Austin, and they are free for Amazon Prime members.
And there are apps that offer workouts, many of them tailored to the type
of exercise you’re interested in or the body part you want to work.
That’s why it’s important to have an idea of what you’re
looking for, because there are so any choices.”
Other things to consider: the space where you will be working out (for
instance, some videos call for a hard surface), your fitness level (so
you can choose a workout geared to you) and what equipment, if any, you
may need (such as mats, weights or a chair for balance or barre exercises).
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, or if you’re short on time,
Dr. Walter recommends checking out the website for the
American Council on Exercise, which has a handful of short videos led by certified trainers.
When you choose a video, Dr. Walter urges you to watch it first before
you work out. “The great thing about the wide availability of workout
videos is that you can see exactly what the workout entails, instead of
just buying a DVD sight unseen,” Dr. Walter says. “It will
also give you an idea of how intense the workout is, whether it offers
modifications for different skill levels, if the instructions are clear
or if it’s too fast-paced for you.” Watching the video before
you actually do the workout also gives you the chance to learn the proper
form for exercises, which can help prevent injury. It’s also good
if the video has warm up and cool down sections.
“And the disclaimer at the front of all videos is there for a reason—it’s
a good reminder to listen to your body and stop if you get hurt or have
any problems,” Dr. Walter says.
This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical
care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.