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Exercise Videos: Hit 'Play' for Fitness

Exercise Videos: Hit 'Play' for Fitness

Do exercise videos work?
Why use an exercise video?
How do I choose an exercise video?
Are exercise videos safe?

If you think that all exercise videos feature old-fashioned aerobics taught by some annoying instructor hopping around to cheesy music, guess again! There are videos for almost every activity. You can learn step aerobics, yoga, tai chi, stretching, hip-hop, and kickboxing. And there are videos choreographed to everything from country music to salsa. Best of all, the video exercise class starts whenever you hit play. back to top

Do exercise videos work?
A good exercise video with a qualified instructor can help you add variety to your workouts and achieve your fitness goals. But how do you find a good exercise video? Read the back of the box before you buy any video. Look for instructor certification information and fitness magazine ratings, not celebrity endorsements. Also, any cardio exercise program should begin with a warm-up, raise your heart rate for at least 20 minutes, and be followed by a cool-down and stretches. Of course, you'll need to try the routine several times to learn the moves, particularly if an exercise is new to you. And like any exercise, you have to do it consistently and correctly if you want to see results. back to top

Why use an exercise video?
Exercise videos aren't for everyone. Some people don't like to exercise alone. Others prefer to run, bike, or hike outside. But if you are self-conscious about your body or your dancing ability, you might feel more comfortable using an exercise video. There's no pressure to compare yourself to other girls. And you can pop in a video whenever you've got the time.

Some girls use exercise videos to learn new dance moves or to try out the hottest fitness trends like kickboxing and Tae-Bo without having to pay for a class at a gym. Exercise videos are also great for strength training and conditioning. You can target a certain body part, like your abdominals, or focus on one of your fitness goals, like improving your flexibility.

Videos also give you options. For example, if the weather's bad and you can't go running, you can work out to an aerobic video instead. Invite your friends over for an exercise video party. back to top

How do I choose an exercise video?
Before you buy an exercise video, cruise through the exercise section of your local video store or library, and take a look at what's on the shelves. Try a couple of different tapes to find instructors you like and a level of difficulty that you find comfortable. Or save time by checking out video reviews online. You can't always judge an exercise video by the box it comes in, but it should tell you:
  • level of difficulty (beginner, intermediate, or advanced)
  • length of the workout
  • any equipment you might need
  • type of workout or muscle trained (cardio, abdominals, legs, and so on)
  • the instructor's experience and credentials
  • type of music (if any) back to top
Are exercise videos safe?
Unfortunately, there's no reliable way to know if an exercise video is right for you or has quality exercises until you see it. (A good reason to rent before you buy!) If the instructor says to do anything that doesn't seem safe, like a stretch that just doesn't feel right or a back bend as part of a beginner's program, stop immediately. If you don't understand the instructor's cues after listening and watching the video, look for another. There are hundreds of good exercise videos out there—you don't want to get frustrated or injured!

When you find an exercise video you like, remember these tips for a fun and safe workout:
  • Clear all furniture out of the way so you don't bump into it.
  • Have a towel and water within easy reach.
  • Wear sneakers or athletic shoes for support. back to top
Last Modified Date: 1/8/2001
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