Best technology for online programs
We would highly recommend that a LAPTOP/COMPUTER be used for participating in online exercise programs. For the following reasons:
- It provides more screen volume – giving you the capacity to see the instructor more clearly and them you.
- It removes issues associated with screen orientation changing (e.g., phones/ iPad’s can automatically adjust orientations of the screen which can reduce your visual field and/or make it harder for the instructor to get a full sense of your movement etc)
- Allows you to use multiple online functions a bit more easily (e.g. chat function/ raise hand etc – it can be harder when you have less space for all those functions to occur, like on a phone)
Our program instructors have protocols that they will follow in the instance of an adverse medical incident, but there are other ways to ensure your safety in an online program. It is recommended that you have someone in the household present during the periods of your exercise session just to ensure there is also someone in your immediate vicinity that could also be active in addressing the issue (e.g. help you with an injury or fall or call for an ambulance).
Visibility is important
There are a number of reasons why it is important that you turn on your camera and allows the instructor to see you whilst you engage in the program. Some important reasons include –
Safety: First and foremost, it is important that the instructor can see you clearly during your session. This will ensure that they can give you suitable guidance on any movement/ technique adjustments they may wish to give you to help you avoid injury etc. More importantly, in the unlikely event of a serious incident requiring medical attention, that can have a timely indication that they need to trigger the appropriate actions to support you.
Allows you to advance your skills and outcomes: Having the ability to see you clearly within the frame of your video will greatly aid the instructor in providing you with feedback on ways you might want to modify or decrease/increase the intensity of what you’re doing. This means you can get more out of the program.
Increases engagement: We recognise that the digital play-space is different from face-to-face programs, but it can still be a place to connect and engage with your instructor and the others in the program. Having you visible on camera brings back that human element and allows for more socialisation and interaction.
Setting Up: A good rule of thumb, is to set yourself up in a room that has enough space for you to move freely and remove any potential trip hazards. You want to make sure that you have set up your laptop in such a way that your whole body is visible within the centre of your image (this may require a little adjustment of either the object you are using to support the laptop or moving your body back from the laptop into a space where you are centred. – this way the instructor will have good viability of your movements.
Get help: It may also be practical to go in a bit earlier than your session start and ask the instructor to give you feedback on where you plan to exercise and help you determine where you’ll be best positioned for the class ahead.
Modification and Adaptation is the way to go
Don’t forget that these classes have been designed with the intention to cater for people of all ages, arthritis types and levels of fitness. So, it’s okay to ask your instructor for a way to modify the exercise (and/or give you an alternate exercise) if something is not quite working for you.
Equally we want participants to realise that you are in the drivers’ seat and can take rest and recovery breaks whenever you feel there are necessary. You know your body and your needs, and the instructors will equally encourage you to take breaks (e.g., water break etc) whenever you require them.
Familiarise yourself with the new technology
The technologies we use for our online programs (ZOOM and Microsoft TEAMS) can feel a bit daunting at first. However, we have found that most new users quickly can adjust to the simple features of these software’s.
If you are new to these programs, we recommend downloading them onto your computer (your spouse/children/neighbour might help you with this task) and have a little play with it!
The main aspects you want to become familiar and comfortable with are…
1. The Camera setting is usually depicted as a tv camera icon (example right-ZOOM)
Usually, you will enter the room with your camera automatically set to be turned on.
If you don’t see yourself press the camera button and your video should start playing.
2. The Microphone setting is usually depicted as a microphone (example right -ZOOM)
Much like the camera you will know if you’re muted because a red mark will appear
in front of this icon. If you click the microphone icon again it will unmute you and you can speak others.
The Chat Function:
3. The chat function is usually depicted as a speak bubble (example right – ZOOM) and this function can sometimes be used if you want to raise a question/ make a comment/you are having technical difficulties with your camera or microphone etc.
To make sure the sound is working you can check test your speakers. In settings, click audio and at the top of the screen you can see a button to “Test Speaker” make sure the volume is all the way up.
You can also check if your computers sound is on and turned up. This will be through your desktop computer or laptop. If you click in settings, then sound, you can see if your speakers are connected and switched on. You can also see if your volume is turned up.
Please note: The functions are the same for those using Microsoft TEAMS and the icons are very similar visually.
We also encourage you to reach out to those in your social networks (e.g. children, neighbours, friends etc) that are more experienced with these platforms to help you better use them in the future. Grandchildren are particularly good at these technologies! and can get you comfortable with them in no time.