Exercise in the time of Covid-19 Restrictions

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Given the current stay-at-home restrictions, regular physical activity is more important than ever in staying healthy. It is a well-known fact that moderate intensity physical activity is associated with improved immune function. Regular physical exercise can also help reduce feelings of stress and anxiety, which many of us may be feeling during this challenging time.

The current physical activity guidelines recommendations are for 150-300 minutes of active, moderate intensity aerobic exercise per week as well as 2 sessions per week of muscle strength training. These don’t have to be done all at once. You can fit in 10 or 20 minutes here and there, as I am trying to do, as it keeps your calorie-burning metabolism steady throughout the day.

Here are some examples of what you can do:

Aerobic

-Walk up and down the stairs briskly for 10-15 minutes, 2-3 times per day.

-Dance! There are some great Zumba and other videos out there on the web.

-Home cardio machines. If you have them such as a stationary bike, elliptical, etc.

-Jump rope. One of my favorites but can be a bit jarring on the joints.

-Walking outside, maintain proper distance from others. If you can’t be 6 feet apart from others, please wear a face mask per City of Austin ordinance.  A brisk walk in nature (if possible) can really do wonders physically, psychologically and help immune function.

-Bike riding.

-Gardening and lawn maintenance. Spring is here and there are many therapeutic benefits from this activity as well.

-Jumping Jacks, squat jacks and burpees are higher intensity but are great to get the cardio going!

Strength Training

-Simple “old school exercises” such as squats, sit to stand from a chair, wall-slides, push-ups on the wall, counter or floor if able. Lunges, alternating forward or backward can help train the muscles we need functionally for everyday activities.

-Watch and follow along with training videos. As I have discovered, there are a multitude of great workout videos on the web encompassing various disciplines including Yoga, Pilates, Tai Chi, QiGong for lower impact training as well as higher intensity workouts from various fitness companies/gymnasiums that are either free or have minimal fees. Lifetime Gym, Orange Theory Fitness and The Lagree Studio all have great online work outs.

Hopefully, these exercise strategies will help you stay positive, active and healthy.

Yours in health,

Eduardo R Elizondo, MD, CLCP

Fellow, American College of Sports Medicine

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