Staying active during COVID-19 pandemic

As new COVID-19 cases continue to emerge, many healthy individuals are being requested to stay at home in self-quarantine.  In many areas, fitness centers are temporarily closing to help with social distancing.  However, staying at home for prolonged periods of time can pose a significant challenge for remaining physically active (and sane). Sedentary behavior and low levels of physical activity can have negative effects on the health, well-being and quality of life. Physical activity can be valuable tools to help you remain calm and continue to protect your health during this time.

The WHO recommends 150 minutes of moderate-intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity physical activity per week, or a combination of both. These recommendations can still be achieved even at home, with no special equipment and with limited space. The following are some tips on how to stay active while at home in self-quarantine:

Take active breaks during the day. Short bouts of physical activity add up to the weekly recommendations. Dancing, playing with children, and household chores such as cleaning and gardening are other means to stay active at home.

Follow an online exercise class. Take advantage of the wealth of online exercise classes. Many of these are free and can be found on YouTube. Some of these can be quite challenging, so listen to your body and know your limitations.

Walk. Even in small spaces, walking around or walking on the spot, can help you remain active.  Walking outdoors is even better, the fresh air can be stimulating and provide a boost of energy similar to a cup of coffee.

Stand while working. If you are working at home it is ideal to reduce your sitting whenever possible. Ideally, aim to interrupt sitting every 20 minutes. Consider setting up a standing desk by using a high table or stacking a pile of books or other materials.

Exercise. Take time to do your exercises. Below are example exercises which can be performed individually, all together or in groups of 3.

Bird-Dog: Starting on all fours, elevate the opposite arm and leg. Be sure to keep your abs engaged and your hip parallel to the floor. Perform 2 sets, 10 reps each side.
Bridge: Begin with knees bent, feet flat on the floor and a neutral lumbar curve. Press your hips up being sure to maintain the same curve in your low back as the beginning position. Perform 2 sets, 10-15 reps with 3sec hold.
Single-Leg Bridge: This can be performed in the same way as a bridge. Or, this can be performed in a march pattern while holding your hips up. Perform 2 sets marching, 10 reps each side.
Dead-Bug: Lie on your back with arms and feet in an “all fours” position. Lower the opposite arm and leg, not allowing your low back to ache. Perform 2 sets, 10 reps, 3 sec hold.
Prone YTA: Begin lying face down with toes down, knees off the floor and nose/mouth off the floor. Place your arms in a “Y”, “T” or “A” position, pulse 5 times then move to another position. Perform 5 pulses in all 3 positions 5 times without resting your arms (“T” position shown).
Plank: Begin lying belly down with your weight supported on your elbows and toes. You can modify by being on your knees. Perform 2 sets, 15sec – 2min hold.
Side Plank: Begin lying on either side with your weight supported on your elbows and feet. Top leg should be in front of bottom foot. You can modify by being on your knees. Perform 2 sets, 15sec – 2min hold.
Kneeling Lean: Start in a tall-kneeling position. Engage your abs then lean back and hold for 2 breaths at least. Breath with your belly expanding. Make sure you keep a straight line from your knees to shoulders. Also, don’t let your head stick out forward. Perform 2 sets, 10 reps, with 2 breath hold.
Lunge: This can be performed 2 ways. First from the tall kneeling position, stepping forard immediately after a backward lean. Or Standing with your feet shoulder width apart and stepping forward allowing the back leg to bend. Perform 2 sets 5-10 reps each side.
Squat: In a standing position with your feet a step wider than shoulder width, hip hinge and bend knees so that your hips move backwards while your knees are bending. Weight should be in your heels, knees behind your toes, and your chest facing forward. Perform 2 sets 10-15 reps.
Side Lunge: In a standing position with your feet wide, hip hinge and shift your body weight to one side. Move your hips backward as you bend the knee on the side you are shifting towards, keep the opposite leg straight. Weight should be in your heels, knees behind your toes, and your chest facing forward. You may have poor depth, and that’s okay! Perform 2 sets 10-16 reps.
High knees: Elevate one knee so that you thigh is parallel with the floor and tap your knee with the opposite hand. Repeat quickly from side to side in a jumping fashion. This can be performed with less impact in more of a stepping fashion. Perform 2 sets of 20 reps or continuous for up to 2 minutes.

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6 thoughts on “Staying active during COVID-19 pandemic

  1. Thanks for sharing these. In these hard times fitness should be maintained. It is better for our health. THANKS

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