Staying Active During the Coronavirus Pandemic
“Movement is a medicine for creating change in a person's physical, emotional, and mental states.”
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: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/index.html
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 HIV)
Here are some strategies to maintain physical activity and fitness.
- 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.
- 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.
- Download a strength workout app to your smart phone, such as the 7-Minute Workout (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
- 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!
Here are current answers to frequently asked questions about physical activity or exercise and COVID-19:
I’m under quarantine but not infected. Should I limit my physical activity?
Are there precautions I should take?
The most important strategy to prevent infection is to avoid coming into contact with others who are infected with COVID-19.