Since the world locked down and gyms everywhere have closed, many have turned to virtual workouts that can be done from the comfort of their homes. And while it's great that people are finding ways to be active during these times, trying new workouts can also lead to injuries. With no fitness trainer to supervise their movements, things like proper form can be compromised which can easily lead to a painful injury.
We spoke with award-winning chiropractor, and personal injury expert Dr. Nekessa Remy on some proper stretches to keep in mind when working out from home to prevent and reduce any injuries.
What are some stretches that everyone needs to be mindful of before they start their at-home workout?
A proper warm up is very important before starting any type of cardio or weight routine
A proper warm up is very important before starting any type of cardio or weight routine. If you are limited for time and space, consider doing a couple of flights of stairs to elevate your heart and get your muscles ready to workout. Once warmed up, dynamic stretching should be done. Unlike static stretching dynamic stretching prepares the body for movement and activity. Common examples include:
Walking Lunges with Torso Twist
Stand with your arms on your waist; take a step forward and lunge straight down, keeping your front knee in line with your hip and ankle and lowering your back knee toward the floor without touching. Do not allow your front knee to drive past your front toes. Twist your torso with arms extended forward, to one side and then the other. Push off the back leg and step forward with the opposite leg lunging in the same fashion.
High Kicks/Leg Swing
Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and hands resting on your hips. Shift weight to your left foot and swing the right leg and foot forward and backward. Allow the right knee to naturally flex and extend throughout the movement, maintaining length in the spine and keeping the core tight. Repeat on the other side 10-15 times
Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor with your arms bent alongside the body, elbows at your side and palms facing up. Keeping your arms in contact with the floor, inhale to slide arms overhead until your index fingers touch one another. As you exhale, slide your arms back down to the starting position, keeping arms and hands in contact with the floor throughout the movement. Repeat 10-15 times
What about post-workout stretches?
After your workout you want to focus on static stretching.
After your workout you want to focus on static stretching. Static stretches are those in which you stand, sit or lie still and hold a single posture for at least 20 seconds. These stretches are better done after a workout, when your body is ready to cool down and begin muscle recovery. Static stretching will also help to reduce any post workout muscle soreness. Great post workout stretches include:
Hip Flexor Stretch
To stretch the front of your hips, kneel down on your left knee. Keep your right knee bent, with your right foot flat on the floor in front of you. Lean forward and stretch your left hip out toward the floor. Hold this stretch for 20 to 30 seconds before switching legs.
Start by standing near a wall or chair for support, with one foot in front of the other, front knee slightly bent. Keep your back knee straight, both heels on the ground, and lean forward toward the wall or chair. You should feel a stretch along the calf of your back leg. Hold for 20 to 30 seconds and repeat on other side.
Kneel on the floor. Touch your big toes together and sit on your heels, move your knees so they are hip width apart. Exhale as your torso leans forward to rest in between your thighs. Keep your arms extended ahead of you, resting on the floor. Hold for 20 to 30 seconds.
What are some things people can do to prevent injury at home?
Stretch with every workout. Dynamic stretching should be done before a workout to prepare the body for activity and static stretching should be completed after your workout to help your muscles and joints cool down.
Mix up your routines to prevent muscle fatigue and over use injuries. Consider alternating between cardio and weight training workouts. Incorporate at least one flexibility workout a week (such as yoga).
Ensure that you have adequate space and equipment. Indoor running shoes should be worn if doing any high intensity interval training. Prepare your space and assess ceiling height (especially if in the basement) before your workout to avoid possible injury.
Dr. Nekessa S. Remy is a leading health and wellness professional and expert with a passion for injury prevention and enabling others to be their own health champions. Her philosophy stems from her belief that healthy living is a RIGHT and not a privilege. Through her blogs, seminars and media appearances, Dr. Remy uses her knowledge and experience to educate others on how to become their own health advocates. Over the last few years she has become a sought-after health and wellness expert for various media outlets including, CTV, Breakfast Television and Global Morning.