Virtual exercise classes are a fun way to get fit from home.

How to Make the Most of Virtual Fitness

At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, many people who could no longer go to the gym turned to online — or virtual —workouts, and with the rise of the Delta variant, even those who restarted at the gym may be hesitant to go. No worries, the livestream trend has resulted in a wealth of classes, making it easy to find pretty much any kind of workout you want online! Popular livestream classes include yoga, pilates, HIIT, Zumba, and other types of dance. There’s only one problem – it’s easier to slack off in a virtual class, or stop going altogether – after all, who will notice? But you can keep yourself motivated and committed with these tips.

Give Yourself Space

No one is going to Zumba week after week with roommates watching or a game on at the other end of the room, so finding room for yourself to work out undisturbed will make a big difference. You don’t need a lot of space, just enough to move around in without bumping into things. And you need access to any equipment you typically use like weights, a yoga mat, or a foam roller. Also stock your workout space with a towel and water bottle so you don’t have to jump up and go find them. And since you need to see your screen, test out a place to prop your laptop or iPad.

Set a Goal

Nothing helps you stick to an exercise plan like a strong motivation, like getting flatter abs or a stronger core so your back doesn’t hurt. Weight loss is always a good motivator, but it’s important to want to exercise for exercise’ sake as well.

Keep a Schedule

If your virtual class meets regularly in real time, that will be a big help in keeping you on track. If not, set a schedule for yourself, choosing specific days and times and putting them on the calendar, just like you would for a real-time class.

Check Out Your Choice

Before paying for a virtual class or program, try out a sample workout or watch a video trailer to make sure you like it and it’s at an appropriate level. Reading reviews can help you find out what people think of the teacher and how strenuous the activities are. Once the class starts, pay attention to how you’re feeling – it’s okay to take a break if you’re exhausted!

Go with a Group

When joining a live fitness class, sign on a few minutes early and see if any other classmates have done the same. This way you can connect with your classmates just like you might if you were getting ready in the studio. At the end of class, check to see if people stay on and chat while they’re stretching, or if there is a conversation in the comments. Over time, you’ll get to know your classmates much as you would in person.

Track Together

Sharing your runs and other activity data is a great way to get support and feedback for meeting your goals. You can share publicly, or set up a connection with a specific friend or coach. And sharing your success gets results – researchers found that people who shared health data with a coach were more successful in losing weight . Working with a wellness coach works great, too.

Change It Up

Banish boredom by making sure your virtual classes have enough variety. If you’re stuck in a rut or having trouble sticking to a schedule, itmight just be it’s not the right activity for you! And if time is the problem, try shorter classes. It’s better to go once a week for half an hour than pay for an hourly class you never make. Short introductory classes are also a good way to try something new and see if you like it.

Melanie Haiken, Health and Fitness Expert

Melanie Haiken writes about health, wellness and fitness for national magazines and websites. She specializes in discovering and reporting the latest research on diet, nutrition, fitness, weight loss and other health-related topics. Her award-winning stories have appeared in Fitness, Shape, Health, Forbes, and other respected magazines. She also contributes health stories to numerous Kaiser Permanente newsletters and other publications.