Online Workout Advice from a Rehab Doctor

They say the biggest immunity booster is stress relief, and the biggest stress reliever is exercise.  For me, exercise is essential; especially now.  Three to five weekly 45-60 minute exercise sessions over 4 weeks has been researched to work as well as antidepressant medication.  This is similar to the American Heart Association exercise guidelines for optimum health.  Exercise not only relieves stress but also improves body image and lowers anxiety.  Moderate exercise with correct form reduces stiffness and body pain.   

We gym and fitness class lovers now have to resort to running, biking, or (gulp) online work outs. This reminds me of when my kids were little and worked out to FIT TV while they napped.  I loved Gilad, and I am pleased to tell you his workouts can be found for free at gilad/bodies in motion.  (He also has online workouts at Gilad TV on demand for $9.99/month.)  It’s a perfect intro to exercise and the only equipment you may need are light weights (you can substitute water bottles at 1lb each for 16 oz).  Gilad is a great mentor for online instructors:  he speaks clearly, performs safe movements,  is inspiring, and the retro/beach vibe is super appreciated especially now that we have all lost our spring breaks…

With all the online workout options now available you could work out all day.  My advice; pick what excites you and inspires you to move, maintain and maybe even improve your fitness during the next several weeks.  Just listen to your body and
mind old injuries.  Correct form, light weights (if any), proper shoe cushioning, and low repetition are the ways to avoid injury.  Also listen to your body; if it hurts, don’t do it.  One perk of doing work outs at home is you truly can work at your own pace.

For those with pain or injuries, follow these modifications:
* Shoulder pain - Keep weight lightest to none, keep elbows bent and arms in front of you not directly overhead or behind the body.
* Knee pain - Don’t squat deeply, turn your feet out when squatting, pad your knees if kneeling and don’t use ankle weights.
* Hip issues - Keep your leg lifting motions smaller, avoid impact when you can and don’t kick above the waist or across your body.
* Foot or heel pain - Wear well cushioned cross trainers and exercise on a cushioned mat.
* Back pain - Same as for foot pain;  also limit bending, lifting and twisting, especially limit those motions with weights.
* Neck pain - Be careful with push-ups, planks and overhead weight lifting.
* Wrist pain - Use wrist weights instead of those you hold, don’t grip equipment too tightly and make sure your wrist is positioned straight, not bent to the side. 

With do’s and dont’s in mind, feel free to try some of the trendiest fitness classes.  Without  instructor or peer pressure, you can sample bits of each class, or gently work your way through. Here’s what I think of a few:
The Class by Taryn Toomey has a spiritual theme with breaks for heavy breathing and eyes closed.  The movements are repetitive and while the jumping motions can be modified, I do not recommend these for anyone with injuries.   
Tracy Anderson Online is easy to stream, sign up for and offers a free trial.  If you like dance moves, she is fun but the cueing is minimal to none and hard to follow.  Her arm and leg conditioning is very repetitive but I enjoyed the floor workouts as unique and understand why Tracy has a devoted following. 

Barry’s at home is starting live classes you sign up for as if you were going to class for 20 dollars each.  Trainers will be leading them from the Red Room and shouting out to individuals.  They are offering Bodyweight, Weight, Band, and Treadmill with Weight bootcamp classes.  This is another opportunity to sample the Barry’s experience (see my blog 2 down!)

Chris Hemsworth's Centr fitness, while not NY based, is a current trend.  These are intense athletic workouts. While the superstar is not working out with you, his trainers are.  I find them just O.K….. The few classes I did were not super-inspiring.  Standing doing nothing during the rest between HIIT  (high intensity interval training) workouts is not my thing.  I’d rather be stretching or side stepping for time efficiency.  Also, I miss music.

Here are the free trials and workouts I shuffle between : 
Obe’ fitness, came highly recommended and I agree it is the best work out selection online for us NYC fitness class enthusiasts.  The variety of class types, instructors, upbeat music and both live and on demand options are fantastic.  The class lengths:  10, 27 and 43 minutes are short or long enough to mix and match or just sneak in a quick workout.  The trainers speak clearly and are very professional.  They have some selections for working out with kids and even older family members.  The “level up” option of using equipment affords a nice challenge.  Obe’ are offering a 7 day free trial and membership is $27/month if you join.

Daily Burn is another website with a wide variety of well-choreographed and cued work outs for all levels, for all time lengths and all intensities.  Instructors can be clearly seen, cueing is easy to hear, and the classes follow the description. Daily
Burn is offering a free 60 day trial and is $19.99 a month thereafter.

I just downloaded the Planet Fitness app because it’s free!!  Their workouts are pretty much like Daily Burn, with more enthusiasm but less class options.  They have both video and “whiteboard” workouts (timed repetitive motion activities.) along with a fitness tracker.  This would be a great thing for an outdoor workout!

I also reactivated my Nike Training Club Nike Training Club app which is also free! NTC is one of the original workout apps, where you can mix and match exercises including a count down of timed sets.  NTC also now includes a variety of inspiring athletic video workouts led by excellent trainers. 

BohoBeautiful is the youtube source of the only yoga and pilates routines I consistently love.  They are free and on demand, beautiful, well- cued, and not overly repetitive.  These are stunning videos of all intensities.  She mixes yoga and pilates in most of her videos and for 20 minutes, you can get an amazing work out. My favorite 5 minute morning yoga when I feel stressed or tight is Sunrise Beginner Yoga for a Postive Mind .

When you can, take your work outs outdoors for fresh air and sunshine.  Being outside reduces stress and anxiety.  And finally, if you are mid-class and feel pain or simply don't like the class, stop!  No one is watching you; maybe pick a different 10-15 minute workout to finish instead. 

Follow me on Instagram @NYCMDworksout to learn about the classes I am trying.  Enjoy!

Nadya Swedan MD


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