How to stay active while social distancing

*If you have a chronic condition or are an older adult, it is important to talk to your doctor about appropriate types and amounts of physical activity. Examples of chronic diseases are heart conditions, arthritis, diabetes and high blood pressure. 

The COVID-19 pandemic means that many of us, adults and children included, are spending more time indoors because of social distancing. This might make it difficult to stay active. Perhaps exercising may not be a priority for many of us as we focus on how to protect ourselves, our families and our communities during this pandemic. But regular activity is essential for physical health and mental well-being. Physical activity can help to maintain muscle strength and flexibility, reduce stress, boost our immune system and improve sleep, among many other benefits. The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommends 150 to 300 minutes of moderate activity each week for adults. Check out the physical activity recommendations for all ages here

While staying active may be more difficult to do during this pandemic, it’s still possible – indoors or outside. Whether exercising 2, 5, 10, or 20 minutes at a time, every active minute counts! Here are some ways you can stay active during this time.  

Indoor Activities

  •  Put some music on and walk briskly around the house, step in place, or carefully walk up and down the stairs for 10-15 minutes 2 or 3 times per day.
  •  Put on your favorite music and dance, dance, dance!
  • Do an exercise video. You can choose from thousands of FREE online workouts! 
  • Yoga. Doing yoga can stretch your muscles and help with balance, coordination, and relaxation.
  • Body weight exercises. Exercises like push-ups, sit-ups, air squats, lunges, and planks are a simple and effective way to improve balance, flexibility, and strength without extra equipment. 
  •  If you’re watching TV, get up during commercials (or every 30 minutes) and do a lap around the house, step in place, or do an active chore. 
  • If working from home, break up your sitting and stand up while working or if possible, do a lap around your house every 30 minutes.

Outdoor Activities

Even if you are following social distancing, it still may be possible for you to get outside and exercise. If you do exercise outdoors, here are some guidelines to follow:

  • Maintain social distancing: Public health experts recommend to keep proper social distancing – 6 feet or more – to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
  • Wash your hands: The World Health Organization recommends washing your hands before leaving your house, when you reach your destination, and when you return home. Use soap and water and scrub for 20 seconds before rinsing. If soap and water aren’t available, use a hand sanitizer that’s at least 60 percent alcohol.
  • Take it easy: Make sure you pick the right activity and intensity for your level of fitness. If you don’t do physical activities regularly, ease into them to avoid injury. If you do exercise frequently, don’t overdo it now.
  • Stay safe: Follow local health guidelines about whether you can exercise outdoors. 
  • Ideas for outdoor activities include:
    • Walk or jog around your neighborhood but avoid crowded spaces.  If you don’t have time for a 30-minute workout session, break your workout up into three 10-minute or two 15-minute sessions. Everything counts!
    •  Go for a bicycle ride.
    • Do gardening and yard work.
    • Play active games with your family. Backyard soccer games, tag, frisbee, kickball are just a few examples of how you and your family can exercise together. 

Although it may take some effort to create and adjust to new exercise routines during this time, regular physical activity can improve our health and well-being. Remember that every active minute counts! How have you found ways to stay active while social distancing? 


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