Important Message from The Joint Chiropractic regarding COVID-19 (Novel Coronavirus) - Read More

What You Need to Know About Home Exercise and Safety

By Martha Michael

Stay at Home and Stay in Shape

If you are like most people who make fitness a priority, you wondered how you could keep an exercise program intact when the stormy effects of COVID-19 began to develop. After losing a wide range of options when gyms closed, members considered how to stay in shape on their own property and with limited equipment. For some it was a good excuse to order the Peloton they always wanted, while others turned to internet Zoom classes.

Fitness Equipment

According to an article in Business Wire, workout equipment sales rose 170 percent during the coronavirus pandemic. The biggest sellers have been exercise bikes, treadmills, and rowing machines.

Unfortunately, treadmills are at the top of another list too -- they are responsible for the highest number of emergency visits to the hospital for injuries caused by home exercise equipment. The Sadler Sports & Recreation Insurance website says there are 50,000 ER visits from home fitness equipment incidents, including falls from exercise balls and treadmills, free weights dropped on feet, and elastic stretch band hits to the face.

Online Yoga

Lifelong yogis can be relative experts in the safe practice of yoga, but recreational participation in yoga without supervision has some risks. According to Science Daily, a study of injuries caused by casual participation in yoga reveals some ironies, as most people point to yoga as a preventative method. University research shows that 10 percent of individuals practicing recreational yoga suffer from musculoskeletal pain and 21 percent report an exacerbation of existing injuries.

Researchers from the University of Sydney and Mercy College in New York teamed up to complete the first prospective study of its kind and the results were surprising.

“This injury rate is up to 10 times higher than has previously been reported,” says lead researcher Associate Professor Evangelos Pappas from the University of Sydney's Faculty of Health Sciences. "In terms of severity, more than one-third of cases of pain caused by yoga were serious enough to prevent yoga participation and lasted more than three months.”

The practice of yoga tends to affect the upper extremities, including the hand, wrist, elbow, and shoulder, the researchers say. One of the most typical yoga positions causes the most trouble -- downward dog places too much weight on hands and arms, which may cause injuries to the upper limbs.

Cardio Fitness Classes

In an effort to keep members engaged and maintain a stream of revenue throughout the COVID-19 lockdowns and closures, gyms have set up virtual fitness groups.

Online fitness classes have grown in popularity in 2020. Many of the same group sessions offered at the gym are now available to members in a virtual form, such as strength training and cardio classes designed for people who do not have workout equipment at home. Trainers lead groups in a variety of exercises including:

  • Push-ups
  • Squats
  • Planks
  • Lunges
  • Jumping jacks
  • Sit-ups
  • Twists

When large numbers are involved in virtual fitness classes, which often occurs when they are hosted by such groups as alumni organizations, trainers cannot see audience members. It raises the threat of injury for participants due to lack of supervision.

Prevention

Until gyms reopen and people are on site with knowledgeable trainers again, there is little to offset the downsides to virtual classes, but you have a better chance of staying healthy when you take preventative measures.

WebMD has advice for people to prevent workout injuries during home fitness programs. First of all, take it slow -- you don’t have to start with the most challenging classes. If you’re a beginner, admit it.

Be sure to warm up before you begin. The purpose of the warm-up is to gradually increase your heart rate and to loosen your muscles and joints. A cool-down serves a similar purpose; it brings your heart rate down slowly. Walking is a good method for bringing your cardiac levels back to normal.

Many top trainers include stretching exercises in their sessions, but it never hurts to be ahead of the curve. Dynamic stretching increases flexibility.

Choose a cross-training option. When you vary your workout, you don’t overuse muscles which can lead to injuries resulting from repetitive use. You can use a revolving exercise program such as weightlifting, swimming, and intense cardiac exercising.

Get the go-ahead from your chiropractor. It’s a good idea to get an official baseline of your overall wellness before launching any kind of exercise program. A chiropractor can help you choose the right course of action for someone in your condition, as well as develop a strategy for strengthening your body while avoiding injury.

If you do experience pain from muscle strain or an injury from poor execution of your fitness program, chiropractic care is a safe, non-invasive treatment available to you. Because your circumstances are in a constant state of flux, it’s helpful to remain flexible. But when you continue a routine of positive health habits, such as chiropractic care, it is easier to weather the storms of change.

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