What to look for when searching for online workouts
With internet access and a small space, you can gain access to full exercise classes online and bring the fitness studio to you. Here are a few things to look for and be mindful of when embarking on a search for Youtube fitness classes.
For fitness enthusiasts and those aiming to increase their physical activity, increasing numbers of people are choosing to exercise home and even forego fitness memberships. It's understandable as this convenient form of exercise may remove barriers to exercise for many. With free streaming platforms, accessibility to structured physical exercise is increased as you can find high-quality, follow-along videos and programs on Youtube. There is a lot of variety out there: dance classes, HIIT, METCON, Pilates, barre, yoga practice, cardio, step classes, spinning classes, strength training, mobility training, pregnancy workouts, family workouts, low-impact HIIT, senior chair fitness, etc. You can find videos with lengths that fit your schedule or what you feel like doing that day. Some free online fitness providers offer occasional live streams with an encouraging chat function of like minded individuals.
It is easy to find specific workouts such as apartment-friendly, equipment-free, low-impact, and no-repeat for those who are up for some excitement. Some providers offer classes for certain disease conditions, age groups, and beginner exercises. Online workouts are a tool to increase daily physical activity and support physical and mental health. Exercising at home is a preference for many, and if you would rather follow along and not plan a workout, then this is an accessible option. For those of you not well-versed in physical exercise design or protocols-fear not.
On Youtube, you can find qualified and reputable trainers who lead safe and effective workouts for free, at home, or where ever you wish to train. An advantage to the increase in online follow-along exercise format is it can be akin to being in a group fitness class, plus the online format improves accessibility for those unable to join an in-person fitness class for whatever reason. All you need is a small space, an internet connection, and small portable exercise equipment such as dumbells or water bottles/canned food/sandbags for resistance, resistance bands, mini bands, and a mat/towel.
However, I would be remiss not to mention: err on the side of caution as there is no quality control- anyone can upload and run a fitness channel on Youtube. I've had a few cringe moments where I am following an exercise and immediately notice the lack of a proper warm-up to warm the muscles being exercised in the session, the absence of modifications offered, back-to-back explosive movements putting strain on the knees, thoughts that the overall exercise design can lead to potential injuries, or the video is not well thought out in terms of muscle groups and exercise selections.
As a fitness professional who worked alongside passionate fitness instructors, personal trainers, and kinesiologists dedicated to safe and effective exercise design and injury prevention, I look for attributes when selecting an online exercise class and want to share them with you.
Remember to set intentions for your exercise sessions, and set aside sessions for mental health and joy. We want to spread the message that exercising can be joyful and make people feel better in their emotional state. Everyone can experience the joy of movement. It is not only reserved for sports athletes and ultra-trained bodies. We all create good-feeling hormones from exercising. Just remember to move more briskly and elevate your heart rate. Exercise should cause you to breathe a little faster, and remember to move for at least 10 to 30 minutes.
Here are a few Youtube recommendations.
I have completed many of their classes and feel comfortable writing them here because they offer well-designed and safe classes for all fitness levels. This is NOT sponsored.
For all fitness levels and a wide variety of classes including walking, bodyweight, resistance training, low-impact and high-impact cardio, and more:
Heather Robertson, Caroline Girvan, Michelle Briehler (provides excellent cueing and offers fun themes), Penny Barnshaw.
For yoga classes: Two Birds Yoga, Floating Yoga School, Doyogawithme.
If you have enough data on your Smartphone, you can follow along outside and get in a green exercise session!