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Don’t Make These Mistakes When You Exercise at Home!

By Claudine Aherne August 02, 2022 Health and Fitness

Over the years, I’ve supported hundreds of people to exercise safely and successfully at home. I’ve seen the most common mistakes and helped them get past these and set themselves up for success with home exercise.

Read on to find out what the most common mistakes are and how to avoid them. Doing so will help you to prevent injury, stay motivated, and get more out of your exercise program. You’ll find it easier to exercise at home and see better results, sooner.

Mistake #1: Going It Alone

The first thing that people often do is to work out without any help or guidance. They try to remember exercises they’ve done in the past or learnt in classes.

However good your memory is, it’s hard to remember a full sequence of exercises. Without some technique reminders (whether written down or in a video), we don’t do the exercises so well (meaning we’re less likely to get results and likely to get injured).

Without some structure, you’ll find it harder to get started and easier to get distracted.

Solution for Success: Follow a Program

If it’s written down, whether on paper or screen, make sure it has good images to help you. Most people, however, find videos easier to do and more motivating.

Mistake #2: Jumping Straight In

The next step is to look for a programme or set of videos to follow.

When you’re motivated, you just want to get on with it! Many people end up doing the first videos they find on YouTube or committing to a programme they haven’t thoroughly researched.

If you do this, you may end up doing exercises that are too hard or too easy for you. The movements may be unsuitable for your medical conditions (arthritis, hip replacement, osteoporosis) or not safe for you (balance training that leaves you too unsteady).

Solution for Success: Do Your Research

Imagine you were considering joining a new gym or class or hiring a personal trainer. What research would you do? What questions would you ask? Now, think about asking these questions of an online trainer or program. You could:

  • Ask friends, doctors, and health professionals for recommendations.
  • Do background research (Is the instructor qualified? Do they demonstrate an understanding of your needs and conditions?).
  • Do an initial sense check (fast forward through some videos, watch before you do the exercises), or take up a free trial, if they offer one.

If you would like exercises to improve your balance, take a look at our free, four-week Balance Boost video series.

Mistake #3: Not Knowing Your Stuff

When there’s no instructor or trainer in the room with you, you need to pay more attention to your technique. It will help to be more aware of your posture, breathing, how you do the exercise, and how hard you work.

At home, you can’t wait for an instructor to correct you or suggest alternatives – it’s up to you. To stay safe and get the most out of your workout, you need to learn what’s right for you and any conditions you may have.

Solution for Success: Become the Expert on You

If you have any medical conditions or have had any recent injuries or procedures, ask your doctor or physical therapist if there are any exercises you should avoid (as well as any that will be particularly helpful).

Take the time to learn what exercising at the right level for you should feel like.

Get comfortable with the fact that you might need to exercise differently from one day to the next (depending on how you feel, how well you have slept, and other factors).

Look for an instructor or programme that gives lots of technique pointers, so you feel confident you are doing the exercises well. A good instructor will offer alternatives to some of the exercises, and encourage you to work at your own pace.

Here’s a routine you can try at home now – this is one of the most popular videos in our online exercise studio. The exercises will help you to improve your posture, stand up taller, and reduce tension in your back, neck, and shoulders.

Mistake #4: Skipping the Setup

If you haven’t got your equipment close at hand and your tech set up right, it feels like such hard work to get started (even when you are super motivated). You’re also more likely to give up if you waste time looking for things or can’t get your tech or sound to work correctly.

Solution for Success: Set Up an Exercise Zone

Taking a bit of time to create your workout zone will make exercising at home stress-free and enjoyable.

Make sure you have the following:

  • Space to move (without trip hazards on the floor)
  • All the exercise equipment you need
  • Any clothing or shoes you will need
  • A bottle of water
  • The device you use to watch any videos (with associated stand and chargers)
  • Good speakers or wireless headphones to ensure optimum sound.

Mistake #5: Going in All Guns Blazing

When people start a new exercise program, their motivation levels are high. They want to go for it and start big. They might commit to doing an hour a day, or training for a big event.

If you’re over-enthusiastic, you’re more likely to overdo it. Going in hard from day one means you are more likely to get injured and to run out of steam.

Solution for Success: Start Small

As Confucius said, “The man that moves mountains begins by carrying small stones.”

From a physical perspective, it’s best to start with shorter, less intense workouts. When you build up gradually, your muscles and joints have time to get used to the exercises.

From a psychological perspective, it’s pretty much the same. If we make a big commitment (e.g., an hour a day), it will soon become too much. However, just doing 10 minutes is so much easier to cope with. Every time you do the 10 minutes, you’ll feel successful and build much-needed momentum.

So, temper your enthusiasm and don’t overdo it. Start small and remember, you’re in it for the long run!

I hope that everything I’ve learnt over the years will help you to exercise safely and successfully at home. Putting in a bit of time and effort to avoid these mistakes will help you to stay injury-free and make the most of the time you spend exercising at home.

If you want help and support to exercise at home, take a look at the Vida Wellness Studio. It’s an online exercise studio for people who want to improve their balance and posture, feel stronger, and move more easily.

Are you exercising at home? What exercises do you do and what do you find most challenging about it? Please join the conversation below and let us know!

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Beth E Severson

Excellent advice. Too easy to get all gung ho and injure yourself. Been there done that.

The Author

Over the last 16 years, Claudine has helped hundreds of people to improve their balance, feel stronger and move more easily. That's why her in-person classes and online programmes have been featured globally, including on BBC Radio 4. Members of her online exercise studio enjoy an extensive library of easy-to-follow videos, as well as advice and support. Try some taster videos from the Vida Wellness Studio.

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