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Keep Your Health On Track During The Winter With Virtual Workouts

Posted on January 10, 2023 by Henry Ford Health Staff
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When it gets too cold, snowy or icy to safely do your normal outdoor workout (or even drive to the gym), exercising at home can be a great option. But you no longer have to go it alone just because you’re home. “There are so many great online programs, classes and trainers that can help keep you motivated and on track,” says Nick Parkinson, MEd, AT, ATC, TSAC-F, supervisor of athletic training and sports performance at Henry Ford Health.

Setting Up Your At-Home Workout Space

If your only excuse for not working out at home this winter is that you don’t have enough room, then think again. “You can get a good workout indoors in a space the size of a yoga mat,” says Parkinson. Just because your gym has vast workout spaces doesn’t mean you need that much free space. “I use my living room for workouts just by pushing some furniture aside,” he adds.

One trick for transforming your living room, bedroom or home office into an inviting workout space is to tweak the surroundings. “The atmosphere of the room can really help you feel more motivated,” says Parkinson. So turn on some bright lights, blast some inspiring tunes, and view your online fitness class or online personal trainer workout on your TV (not on a tiny phone screen).

Essential Gear For At-Home Workouts

The truth is, you can get a great workout at home with little (or even no) fitness equipment. “There are plenty of strengthening moves you can do using just your own body weight,” says Parkinson.

If you want to assemble a small collection of gear, he recommends having two pairs of dumbbells (one lighter, one heavier), a couple of resistance bands in varying strengths, a kettlebell and a mat. “You can find great equipment at reduced prices on resale sites or in secondhand stores,” he says.

And if you have no formal workout equipment, get creative. “You can fill milk jugs with sand or use a couple of cans from the pantry as hand weights,” Parkinson suggests.

Tips For Selecting The Right Virtual Fitness Program

There is no shortage of options when it comes to virtual workouts. The trick isn’t so much finding a virtual fitness trainer or online fitness class as it is finding one that’s right for you.

“You need to do your homework to find a class, program or trainer that’s appropriate for your fitness level, physical condition, the gear you have available and your workout goals,” says Parkinson. If you’re looking at online personal trainers (there are many who post daily workout videos on YouTube or other platforms), dig into their background a bit to find out about their training and education. It’s also helpful to get recommendations from friends or even fitness instructors or trainers at your gym.

“One of the most important things to look for in a virtual exercise program is the ability to scale the difficulty level up or down,” says Parkinson. Many programs, he says, let you access options for harder or easier moves with the click of a button. This allows anyone dealing with injuries or other limitations to work out more safely.

If you’re considering signing on to a subscription-based virtual workout program such as Peloton Digital, Obé Fitness or Nike Training Club, check to see if they offer a free trial. “These programs are typically pretty affordable and cheaper than a health club membership,” says Parkinson. “But be sure to try out a few classes during your free trial to make sure you like what they offer before committing to a monthly fee.”

How To Stay Motivated For Your Online Workouts

It’s hard to beat the convenience of getting your exercise with a virtual workout at home, but sometimes it can be tough to motivate without the camaraderie of a gym full of people. One option is to see if your gym offers any livestreamed virtual classes. “It helps to see familiar faces and be working out ‘together’ with a bunch of other people,” says Parkinson. That option can also allow you to continue with classes you’re used to doing in person.

You can also enlist others in your household to join you in your workout. If that’s not possible, commit to joining an online fitness community or being a virtual workout partner to a friend. “The two of you can arrange to stream the same virtual workout video at the same time and hold each other accountable,” suggests Parkinson.


To find an athletic trainer at Henry Ford, visit henryford.com or call 1-800-436-7936.

Nick Parkinson, M.Ed., AT, ATC, TSAC-F, is a supervisor of athletic training and sports performance at Henry Ford Health. Learn more about Nick.

Categories : MoveWell
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