The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic can make it challenging to maintain a physically active lifestyle. COVID-19 is spread by someone sneezing or coughing into the air or onto a surface, and then the virus enters and infects a new person through their mouth, nose or eyes. The most up-to-date information about COVID-19 can be found on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website:

Based on what we know about how the virus moves from one person to another, it is recommended to avoid public gatherings and keep a social distance of 6 feet or more. That, along with advice related to personal care (hand washing, not touching your face) has created concern about exercising in gyms, where hundreds of people are in and out every day.

Those at greatest risk for severe complications of COVID-19 are:

  • older adults (age 65 and older)
  • people with chronic diseases (such as diabetes, heart disease and lung disease)
  • those with compromised immune systems (such as those going through cancer treatment or with HI)

These individuals (and those under “shelter in place” orders) should avoid gyms altogether and exercise at home or in their neighborhood.

For all of us, young and old, regular physical activity is important for staying healthy! Compared to just sitting around most of the time, moderate-intensity physical activity is associated with better immune function. Regular physical activity can help reduce your feelings of stress and anxiety (which many of us may be feeling in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic).

The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommends 150-300 minutes per week of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity and 2 sessions per week of muscle strength training. Fit in 2, 5, 10 or 20 minutes, however and wherever you can. Every active minute counts! On the following page are some strategies to maintain physical activity and fitness.

Aerobic Activities

Indoor Activities

  • Put some music on and walk briskly around the house or up and down the stairs for 10-15 minutes, 2-3 times per day
  • Dance to your favorite music.
  • Jump rope (if your joints can handle it)
  • Do an exercise video.
  • Use home cardio machines if you have them

Outdoor Activities(if allowed by your government)

  • Walk or jog around your neighborhood.
  • Stay 6 feet away from others.
  • Be active in a local park. Spending time in nature may enhance immune function.Wash your hands when you get home
  • Go for a bicycle ride.
  • Do gardening and lawn work (Spring is around the corner!).
  • Play active games with your family.

Strength Training

  • Download a strength workout app to your smart phone, such as the 7-MinuteWorkout (no equipment necessary).
  • Do a strength training video.
  • Perform yoga – deep breathing and mindfulness can also reduce anxiety.
  • Find ways to do simple muscle strengthening exercises around your house such as:
    • Squats or sit-to-stands from a sturdy chair
    • Push-ups against a wall, the kitchen counter or the floor
    • Lunges or single leg step-ups on stairs

Don’t sit all day!

For example: If watching TV, get up during every commercial (or periodically) and do a lap around your home or an active chore. For example, throw some clothes in the laundry, do the dishes or take out the garbage. Feel productive after just one show!

Exercise is Medicine – Staying Active During the Coronavirus Pandemic – March 24, 2020 PDF file –