The Top Exercise Video? How to Choose the Right One for You

Wahini Yoga Bag from Yogoco

Keep all your at-home fitness gear handy with this wahini yoga bag from Yogoco

Blame it on the recession.  Blame it on expensive health clubs.  Whatever the reason, sales of fitness DVDs are on the rise, as are podcast productions and video snippets on YouTube.  The best part of the influx is that your options are endless.  You can find ballet, tai chi, kickboxing, HIIT, and even treadmill workouts if you look thoroughly enough.  But you’ll need to be careful.  Exercising to videos requires a little know-how.

You know that paragraph they show at the beginning of most exercise videos? The one written by lawyers that suggests watching it all the way through first before attempting to perform the exercises?  It’s actually true, not just a liability waiver!!

Watching the videos or podcasts first lets you get a feel for what the workout will entail, what equipment you’ll need, and what the choreography is like.  By watching first and exercising second, you’ll know what you’re getting in to when you throw on gym shoes and press play.  You’ll also know if you need to start slowly because of a high-impact section midway through or if you need to work hard from start to finsish.

Watching the video first will also allow you to watch, and concentrate on, the instructor’s form.  One of the hazards of working out solo is that no one is there to make sure you’re moving correctly.  When you’re in a group exercise class or in a personal training session, the instructor can guide you so that you don’t hurt yourself.

Try to practice the trickier movements in front of a mirror if you can.  If you can get a friend to work out with you, even better.  You’ll have a motivational partner who can make sure you’ve got your knees behind those toes during squats.  Safety and preparation can make the difference between back spasms and flat abs.

Once you’re familiar with the moves and have whatever equipment you need all organized, you’re ready to get to it.  That’s right.  The hardest part of working out to a video at home is finding the motivation to do it.  Even if your on-screen fitness instructor has personality for days and a bod you’d kill for, it’s still up to you to get moving.

If you’re the type who finds it difficult to exercise alone, try the videos that come in bite-sized portions.  There are plenty of workouts that offer 10-minute increments that can be done in the morning, at lunch, and after dinner.  Chances are the 60-minute workout will overwhelm you and won’t get done.  Do your research and pick up the right length and type of exercise for you.

With a  little preparation and the perfect workout for you, exercise videos can be your answer to time-crunched days and expensive gyms. Good luck!

Always consult a physician before beginning any exercise regimen. 

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