How to Choose and Use Exercise Videos
If you don't have the time, money or inclination to work out at a fitness center, you can still get adequate fitness instruction right in the privacy of your own home. Technology, in the form of exercise videos, can solve your problems. There is an exercise video available for almost any kind of workout you can imagine. You can find videos on aerobics, muscle toning, stretching, and specialty workouts (boxing, skip rope, dance, yoga, Pilates, senior citizens, pregnancy, tai chi, etc.).
You can exercise at any time of the day you want. Your workout is not dependent on traffic or the weather. Your only investment is the cost of the tape and whatever exercise equipment you need (mat, shoes, free weights, etc). You don't need to be a member of a fitness center. You can wear whatever you want. You don't have to worry about how you look. If you have chosen a good video, you have the expertise of an excellent instructor.
Since you set your own schedule, it is very easy to procrastinate and ''do it tomorrow''. Your workout may be disrupted by telephone calls, your household help, or your children. You don't have the services of a live instructor to correct your exercise form, therefore, you can injure yourself or not achieve your fitness goals. You may not have enough space in your home to do the workout properly.
Guidelines to buying an exercise video.
- What do you want to achieve? Make sure the video matches your fitness goals. For example, you will not get stronger muscles by using a stretching tape.
- Choose the right video for your fitness level. If you have never done yoga, do not buy the video for intermediate or advanced exercisers just because you have always been a fan of Ali Macgraw (a celebrity with her own yoga tape).
- Aerobic videos should teach you how to monitor your heart rate through a pulse check or the ''ratings of perceived exertion'' method.
- Are safety guidelines like ''how to recognize the danger signals of overexertion'' given? It's not enough that the producers flash a disclaimer of ''see your doctor before you exercise''.
- Don't judge the video by its cover. The great looking body of the instructor or celebrity doesn't guarantee effective fitness instruction. Instead, ask yourself the following questions:
- Are the instructions easy to follow?
- Can I see all the movements of the instructor?
- Does the instructor offer modifications of the exercises?
- What are the credentials of the instructor or the consultants behind the production? Reliable organizations you can count on are IDEA (The Health and Fitness Source), ACE (The American Council on Exercise), AFAA (Aerobic & Fitness Association of America), ACSM (The American College of Sports Medicine), NASM (National Association of Sports Medicine), ACOG (American College of Gynecology and Obstetrics), etc.
Keep your home-workout environment safe.
- Push away any large pieces of furniture you might bump into.
- Remove all objects on the floor that you might stumble over. Examples are shoes, toys, bags, etc.
- The best floor for aerobics is a wooden suspended floor. Marble, parquet tiles, and vinyl flooring are will do for low impact aerobics but not for high impact aerobics with jumping. Carpeted floors can be dangerous for low impact aerobics because there are many movements that require you to move sideways (you can sprain your ankle as you drag your feet).
- Wear the appropriate shoes for your workout. The only time you don't need shoes is when you are doing stretching or yoga-type workouts.
- Wear clothing that allows freedom of movement.
- Invest in a firm exercise mat. It just isn't fun to feel that hard floor pushing against your bones.
- Position your TV monitor properly. You should be able to follow the video instructor while keeping your body in proper position.
- Closely follow the instructor's position and movements. However, use common sense. If something hurts, don't do it.
Where to find exercise videos.
The best place to order exercise videos is from a mail order company called Collage Video. They are the world's largest and most reliable source of exercise videos. The company uses two people to review the workouts. One is an ACE-certified fitness professional and the other, a ''regular'' consumer who judges how user-friendly the video is. They list both the positive and negative aspects of the video. They tell you the length of each segment of the workout (warm-up, cardiovascular portion, cool-down, etc). They constantly monitor fitness and health magazines that do independent exercise video reviews.
You can reach Collage Video by telephone at 1-800-433-6769 or by fax at 1-6190571-5906, or visit their web site (www.collagevideo.com). They ship to any country in the world. If you already own a large collection of exercise videos, you can exchange your old videos with other fitness enthusiasts at The Video Exchange web site (www.videofitness.com) at no extra cost except shipping charges.
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