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Making a Safe Space for Home Workouts

Where's a good place to exercise?
Where's a good place to exercise?

Home workouts have spiked because of lockdowns and quarantines around the world. With the right programs, you can get excellent results. But there are a few things you should consider to make the space you work out in safe and appropriate.

Don't exercise anywhere that smells like mold or mildew. When you exert yourself, you breathe deeper than normal. The more mold spores you breathe in, the greater risk of infection they pose. Thoroughly clean the space before you start.

You also want to avoid spaces with flaking paint, space heaters, ranges, ovens, stoves, furnaces, fireplaces, water heaters, pet dander or other things that put out potentially harmful particulates in the air.

An ideal solution is to have a room that's well ventilated, with the ability to take in plenty of fresh air from outside. But that might not an option during high heat in the summer or freezing cold in the winter. It can also be a problem if you live in a city, next to a high traffic road or near factories or businesses that pollute.

If you can't open the windows, get something to purify the air. Avoid devices that emit ozone, because ozone is a lung irritant that can be harmful if inhaled. Use HEPA filters on air conditioners and replace them regularly.

If it's a particularly humid environment, consider a dehumidifier. For the best workouts, keep humidity levels between 40 and 60 percent.

Make sure the space you workout in is clear. The obvious things include moving electrical cords, children's toys or pet toys and anything else lying around on the floor. Then look at the furniture. You don't want a glass coffee table in a spot you might fall. Finally, look up. Low hanging lights or ceiling fans could create quite a surprise if you hit them in the middle of a workout.

Choose a space with appropriate floor covering. Bare floors are best for higher intensity cardio or Zumba classes. Just make sure you're not wearing anything that would make them too slippery.

Flat indoor-outdoor carpet with a good pad for cushioning is good for moderate impact workouts. Avoid lateral movements, jumping or leaping on a carpet.

Area rugs can be problematic if they slip out from under you, so make sure they're securely attached to the floor or put away. No matter what type of floor covering you have, put it on your schedule to clean it regularly.

Put mirrors in places where you can clearly see your form. Attach them securely so they can't be knocked over. If you've got the space, put one in front and one in back, so you can check body alignment and posture from every angle.

Make sure any furniture or equipment you use is strong enough. I've seen pull-up bars rip out door jambs. Hooks for cable exercises can easily punch holes in the doors they're attached to. Chairs can collapse if leaned on wrong or fold under pressure. Put everything you have on stable surfaces. Then if there's any equipment you doubt, don't trust it.

Hooks or systems you attach to the wall or ceilings should be anchored in studs. Drywall alone isn't strong enough to support a person safely.

Equipment should be appropriately sized for you. If you're changing the way you normally perform an exercise to fit your gear, it's time to replace it.

Keep pets out. It may seem like fun to play with your dog while moving weights around, but it's too easy to trip when they get underfoot. Even worse, how bad would you feel if you accidentally dropped a weight on them?

Finally, clean everything when you're finished. Spray 70% alcohol mist on weights, use antimicrobial wipes on leather and products like Lysol on cloth surfaces. Don't wipe the cleaners away, may sure they stay on long enough to do their job. Read the labels for complete instructions. And avoid using antibacterial cleaners because they can help create anti-bacterial resistant germs.

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CAUTION: Check with your doctor before
beginning any diet or exercise program.