Tips For Getting The Most Out Of Your Virtual Workouts
Many of us are feeling burned out with so much screen time after a crash course in doing business, visiting family and friends, and doing telehealth appointments through a screen. So how can you possibly enjoy a virtual class after all the screen time you’ve already had? How can a virtual class give you the benefits of an in-person class?
Maybe your free time is very limited due to a heavy work schedule, maybe you are the mother or father of young children and you have short windows of time to take care of yourself, or maybe you are making the smart choice to supplement in-person training that you do...whatever the reason you find yourself perhaps newly trying out online workout classes, here are some tips to help you get the most out of them. Even if you were a trend-setter and have been doing online classes way before Covid-19, you may find some useful ideas here to try out in your next virtual workout.
You’ve probably heard something about different styles of learning. Usually, we will fall more dominantly into one of these categories: visual, auditory, reading/writing or kinesthetic. The great news is that our brains can adapt and actually grow better at using different senses with practice, thanks to neuroplasticity. When we are taking a class, whether it is in-person or online, we can actually grow our proprioceptive awareness.
Proprioception is the body’s ability to sense its position and movements in space without sight. Science has shown us that people who have higher levels of proprioceptive awareness experience lower pain levels also. Having good proprioception increases our ability to balance, which is a super important factor as we age.
Begin your class ready to use your auditory skills to the max. In time, directive words like up, down, left, right, curve, etc. will have a faster connection to your ability to respond in movement. You might even find that with increased practice you become a better listener to the loved ones in your life and to others in general. Words will begin to stimulate your connection to the physical aspect of your life and body.
If you aren’t naturally good at using your auditory sense to take direction, there are ways to strengthen this ability. If you are taking an in-person class, challenge yourself and don’t watch your instructor the whole time. Hear the direction and see if you can respond. If you are taking a class online, do the exact same thing - look long enough to be sure you are following along and then look away and feel your body as you hear the cues. You can also close your eyes during exercises that are safe for this and increase your proprioception even more. Another tip is to repeat your online selections so that you grow more confident and comfortable with translating words into movement.
Our kinesthetic sense refers to the sensory input that occurs within the body. Ways you can tap into it is to simply notice your muscles contracting and releasing, to sense the position of your spine as you lay on the floor, or how you can keep one part of your body still while you move another. The more you take class calmly thinking about and noticing these things, the easier it will get. Don’t grow frustrated if you aren’t able to feel something that very day but relax and trust that the same way you strengthen a muscle through consistent work, you can also gradually grow and reinforce neural pathways and your ability to use other senses.
Lastly, and maybe most importantly, be nice to yourself and know that being perfect isn’t the goal. Any time spent moving while trying to tune in to where your body is in space, its alignment and how you feel doing different types of movement is time very well spent. It promotes a feeling of general well-being in addition to all of the more commonly known benefits of exercise.