Published on www.stuff.co.nz on 21st January 2022.
Experts have cautioned Kiwis to take care with their home workouts as ACC data shows claims more than tripled to over $1m after lockdowns began. The rise in popularity of home-gyms, recently predicted to be a top fitness trend of 2022, has seen a massive increase in ACC claims tagged with “home” and “workout”. ACC data shows the number of new claims in 2021 was 1,574 – an increase of more than 300 per cent since 2019, which saw only 508 claims.
The total costs of active claims for home workout injuries has increased almost 400 per cent, with the total cost in 2021 $1,027,856 compared to just $268,858 in 2019. New home injury claims correlate with the timing of lockdowns due to Covid-19 in New Zealand. Claims increased by more than 100 percent in April 2020 compared with the same month in 2019.The number of claims also rose significantly in September through to December 2021. Auckland-based personal trainer Alistair Boyd said Covid-19 has resulted in more people focusing on their health and realising the convenience of working out at home. But he said doing so can lead to injury if people were didn’t understand the fundamentals of movements or workouts. “Training yourself, without any prior knowledge or experience can be dangerous,” he said, adding that often an exercise will feel right to somebody, without realising they’re making mistakes. “That’s when those injuries can occur.”
Even when training at home, Boyd advised seeking help from a professional in order to avoid injury. “The key thing where a trainer or coach adds value and benefit is checking technique, form and injury management,” he said. Soft tissue injuries were the most common injury, with 1,532 claims in 2021. Backs were the most reported injury site, with 524 new back and spine claims in 2021.
Auckland led the country in the number of home workout claims, with 858 new claims in 2021 – almost a 400 per cent increase from 2019. ACC Injury Prevention Leader, James Whitaker, said homes are the most common place Kiwis get injured. He stressed the importance of injury prevention when working out at home. “If you haven’t been active for some time, start small and work up to longer workouts. Building strength and mobility just a little bit each day will add up quickly and prevent injuries.”