LEWISTOWN - Home workouts like Insanity and P90X promise to get your body in shape without ever having to sweat in the gym. With the assurance of a money-back guarantee, people are pushing themselves toward perfection in a personal living room rather than with a personal trainer.
However, the high-intensity and high-impact of such workouts also comes with the risk of serious orthopedic injury, said Dr. Matthew McElroy, sports medicine physician at Geisinger Medical Center.
According to McElroy, without the proper technique or guidance, muscle and joint injuries are increasingly common side effects of in-home workouts. Such injuries are likely to occur when weights are too heavy or body movement is incorrect, putting an elevated level of stress on joints and muscles, he said.
Sentinel photos by BUFFIE BOYER
Jane Miller, of Lewistown, works out at Lewistown Health and Fitness Wednesday, in Lewistown.
Workout programs, such as the ones listed above, usually involve an hour of interval or circuit training, referring to alternations between long periods of high-intensity and short periods of rest. According to www.livestrong.com, interval training produces a faster calorie burn due to an increased processing of lactic build-up, reducing fatigue.
"The craze with extreme home workouts comes from the desire for fast and drastic results, which can be obtainable if the programs are followed precisely," McElroy said. "Many of the movements ... are high-impact, ballistic workouts designed with less-than-optimal recovery time, which can put added stress on the body."
Going to see a professional trainer is the best thing to do when beginning an exercise regimen, said Larry Moore, owner of Lewistown Health and Fitness Center. Without the proper instruction you could be losing water weight or muscle, rather than body fat, he said.
"Having a trainer is no different from getting your car checked by a mechanic or your blood tested by a doctor," Moore said. "See an expert if you are going to learn to do things properly."
Many DVD workouts force so much material in the time alloted that instructors don't explain how certain exercises can aggravate problem areas, Morre said. Someone with back strain may be thinking they have to lose weight to lessen the pain, but they end up making it worse instead, he said.
Those with cardiovascular conditions, such as an enlarged heart or high blood pressure, should consult with a physician before beginning extreme home workout programs, McElroy said. The same is recommended for any existing joint or muscle pain.
"... The most important factor in preventing injury during extreme workouts is gradually increasing reps and weight as to not put unneeded stress on joints, tendons and ligaments," McElroy said. "Many of the workouts have very short breaks between exercises, so stretching before and after, warming up and cooling down, staying hydrated and taking breaks are imperative in preventing serious injury."