Have you ever searched online for an exercise video?
If you want to stay active, feel stronger, improve your balance, feel more flexible or mobile, then you may have considered or already tried using online exercise videos.
It’s convenient because we have so many options to get some exercise done at home, whether you want to find good stretches for your back, do 5 minutes of balance training, or even do a full workout class.
But the challenge is that with choice comes confusion and overwhelm.
You can spend all the time you planned to exercise just looking for the right video. Or you start one and then find it’s too challenging or just not what you were looking for. By then, you don’t have time to look again and you give up for the day.
Doing exercises based on online videos can be risky too. You may end up doing an exercise that isn’t suitable for you, overdo it, or even injure yourself.
I don’t want this to happen to you. In this article, I will talk you through how to go about finding and choosing the best online exercise videos for you.
But I Already Go to an Exercise Class!
When I talk about online exercise videos, many people tell me that they already go to a class, or they already have some regular movement in their weekly schedule. It’s not a question of either doing home exercise or going to a class – the best solution is almost certainly a combination of both.
Doing a short routine at home in between your class will help to maintain or build on some of the gains you have made in the session. It can also provide variety and help ensure you are addressing all the components of fitness.
For example, some of our Studio members walk regularly, so they know they are getting some cardiovascular exercise. But they also know that they need to do strength and balance exercises. These are harder to do independently, and it helps to have someone to demonstrate and talk you through the exercises.
We see the best results for balance training when we do the exercises most days of the week. So, having a video that you can do, even if it’s just a few minutes long, can make this much easier.
Where to Start? Ask Around
To start your research, ask people you trust for recommendations. Friends, family, online community – put the question out there. Many people subscribe to YouTube channels, have favourite websites with videos, or hold online exercise memberships.
Your doctor, physiotherapists, physical therapists, osteopaths, or chiropractors might have suggestions as well. Perhaps their other patients have found some good resources they can share.
Any personal recommendation will help you to come up with a shortlist and give you a few options to look into in more detail.
Set Aside Research Time – Don’t Jump Straight In
Realise that you will need to take some time to research the various options.
Take your list of recommendations and look around the instructors’ websites, YouTube channels, and social media. Find out about their background, qualifications, and specialties. If it’s not clear, get in touch with them and ask. A good instructor will be happy to share this information with you.
See what kind of people they have worked with, and who has left testimonials for them. If you are looking for exercises to help with arthritis, does the instructor mention this? Do they seem to understand, empathise with, and appreciate your concerns?
Do they give different versions of exercises and do they offer modifications if you have issues? Exercising well can be complex, and it’s important to be working at the right level for you. If an instructor is fixed on doing things a certain way and doesn’t give you options, they may not be right for you.
Can You Ask Questions and Get Support?
Check whether the instructor takes questions about the exercises. Even with the best video, you may have questions, and it’s important to be able to get these answered.
I get a lot of emails, and while I don’t always get back straight away, I do answer all the queries. And I am very active in our online Studio, where I field daily questions from members who want to make sure they are doing the right exercises at the right level for them. We have also introduced a Private Discussion area in the Members' Forum, so that we can provide confidential advice to members.
Being available for questions is important to me. I know that when you feel 100% confident that you’re doing an exercise right for you, that is when you will keep doing it. And we don’t get results unless we keep doing them.
Want to Improve Your Balance Safely? Look Out for This Red Flag
If you’re looking for exercises to improve your balance, make sure that the instructor recommends standing near a support. If they don’t mention that, then perhaps they haven’t worked with people who have balance issues or are worried about falls.
Of course, you could do the exercises without a support and be fine, but this should make you wonder what else they don’t know or haven’t thought about. If anything else along these lines bothers you or makes you wonder about their understanding of your condition, needs, or goals, then keep looking.
When you find an instructor or organisation that looks promising, have a look at a selection of the videos. You can fast forward or scroll through and click at different points in the video. Take a look at the exercises they’re doing and see if it looks like something you could do.
You might feel a bit nervous, especially if you haven’t done any exercise like this before. Don’t let your lack of confidence put you off. If it looks a little bit hard but you feel confident that you can at least give it a go, then that’s all right.
However, if you start looking through the video and the instructor begins doing handstands, or something similarly crazy, then this may not be the right video for you. That is, unless your balance is good enough to do the handstands. In that case, keep watching that video and have fun!
Personal Preference Matters
Just because your friend Maria (who also has arthritis and wants to keep her joints moving) likes a video, doesn’t mean you will. Make sure that the individual style of the instructor works for you.
What about the music? In our classes and videos, we don’t use music. People work at a different pace, some people have trouble with their hearing and find it distracting, so we leave it out. Many love the fact that it’s quiet and they can concentrate. Some play music at the same time, but it’s their own choice, and I think that’s great.
Find videos that you enjoy because you do need to feel comfortable with someone’s style, with the approach, with the music, and with the setting. Because that’s what’s going to keep you coming back.
When You Do Start
When you find videos you want to follow, please start slowly and take it easy. If there are various difficulty or challenge levels, start on the lowest one and build up gradually. Even if it feels a bit easy, you could wake up the next day aching! People tell us that the exercises we do are deceptively simple, and they don’t expect to feel as ‘worked’ as they do.
If it is a bit easy for you, you will build up quickly and that’ll be fine. But you won’t overdo it or risk injuring yourself as a result of early enthusiasm.
Trust Yourself – You Are the Expert!
Finally, trust your instincts and listen to your body. Even though you’re watching an expert who is (hopefully) qualified, experienced, and trained to suggest appropriate exercises, to demonstrate them carefully and give you good advice, they are not in the room with you.
They don’t know what it feels like in your joints or your back, and what’s exactly best for you. So, you need to take a bit more time to get to know your body and how it feels when you do different exercises.
Your online instructor may be the expert in the exercises, but you are the expert in you.
You will feel more confident committing yourself to an exercise programme with the knowledge that you know when to push yourself, when to ease off and what’s right for you.
What videos do you like doing at home, and why? How much research do you do before committing to a program? Do you do home exercises in addition to a class?
What other questions do you have about doing exercises to improve your balance?
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This article was originally published on Sixty and Me (www.sixtyandme.com)
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