I know virtual fitness classes aren’t quite the same as in-person classes, but they will at least keep us going until we can all dance in the same room again! Here are a few tips to prepare for joining in with virtual online fitness classes at home using Zoom.
Setting up your exercise space at home
Lots of people use their kitchen or living room for online classes but, depending on your available space, you might need to get creative and use your garage or even a hallway. Your exercise space at home may be small and that’s fine, just keep your movements small and any travelling steps may need to be done on the spot. Just make sure your space is obstacle-free and consider things like shutting the cat out of the room so you don’t trip over (or kick) it! While working out at home you need to assess and be aware of any hazards just as your instructor would in an in-person class. Your instructor cannot control your home workout environment, so your safety becomes your own responsibility.
Please make sure your footwear is suitable for the type of floor you’ll be dancing on. Prolonged use of hard flooring with no ‘give’ (kitchen tiles, concrete garage floors, patio slabs, etc) is not good for your joints, so impact absorbing trainers (or at least a good pair of sports insoles) are essentials. A wooden or laminate floor is ideal. Carpet is fine, it will at least help reduce the impact when jumping, however be careful when twisting and turning and make sure you’re not wearing trainers with too much grip (such as those designed specifically for running) if you’re dancing on carpet, as you don’t want to end up with a knee or ankle injury due to too much friction between your footwear and the floor. If you’re having trouble finding a suitable space, inexpensive interlocking rubber mats could be used to improve your dance floor, or you can get over-trainer ‘dancesocks’ to improve or reduce the grip of your footwear.
The technical stuff
Firstly, you will need to download Zoom on your chosen device, or go to Zoom.us on your web browser and click ‘join a meeting’. Enter the meeting ID and the password when prompted, being careful to enter it exactly as seen, with upper and lower case letters in the correct places.
You can use a smart phone, but you’ll be able to see more on a tablet or laptop. If you have a smart TV, chromecast or HDMI cable, you can view the Zoom meeting via your TV for an even bigger picture. This will help you feel more like you’re in an actual in-person class, with the other participants in the room with you. If using a phone or tablet, make sure you have a charger nearby in case your battery runs low! Also check that your device is up to date, as you don’t want any software updates suddenly downloading and affecting your experience of the class. Make sure you are also running the latest version of Zoom to avoid any technical issues.
When joining a Zoom class, have your camera on if possible (click on the camera icon), but mute your microphone (using the microphone icon) once the class starts. Your camera isn’t essential, but it is useful for the instructor to be able to see you, interact and offer encouraging feedback, plus it makes the session a more fun, sociable experience for all. Have the screen on ‘speaker view’ rather than gallery, so you can see the instructor clearly. You’ll find the audio/video options in the bottom left corner of the screen.
For the strongest virtual class connection, ensure all other wireless devices are disconnected from the internet. Bear in mind, there might be a small lag between the computer sound and the instructor’s movements based on the internet connection. If you have particularly low bandwidth and have trouble with video streaming, try connecting via an ethernet cable rather than wirelessly, or position yourself as close to the router as possible.
See you online soon!