Regular physical activity is important for all of us to stay healthy during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the Institute of Public Health.
Staying physically active at home can help to maintain our physical health and reduce the feelings of stress and anxiety that are common at this time of heightened uncertainty.
Guidelines recommend that adults and older adults (aged over 65 years) should aim to do at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity five times a week.
Children and young people aged 5-18 years should aim for an average of at least 60 minutes per day across the week.
However, this is a challenge as we follow social distancing guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
But there are still ways to keep active. Remember, some activity is better than none.
Dr Conor Cunningham from the Institute of Public Health says there are ways we can all continue to be active at home while observing social distancing.
Dr Cunningham said: “The evidence shows that being more active keeps us healthy, improves our mood and wellbeing, and reduces stress and anxiety. There are a lot of things we can do at home to build exercise and movement into our day without leaving the house or needing expensive equipment.
“A lot of people’s routines may be disrupted, but it is important to try and maintain a routine throughout the day. Building physical activity into your day can help to anchor a routine. But the most important message is for people to try to move more and make it a daily habit. Any amount of activity is better than none.”
10 ways to keep active at home during the COVID-19 pandemic: find what works for you!
- Try to move more. Any amount of activity is better than none.
- Break up long periods of sitting with light activity. Try walking around the house, get up each time an advert comes on the TV, or walk up and down the stairs.
- Move to your favourite music.
- Try to stand or move around the home during calls or reading a book.
- Briskly walking or moving around the home or garden for 10 minutes two or three times a day, vacuuming and brushing floors will get you moving.
- Try to do seated exercises such as air punches or marching legs.
- Use a tin of beans or a jar of carrots as weights for upper body exercises.
- Build in strength exercises by doing push-ups against a wall, the kitchen counter or on the floor.
- Perform yoga or simple stretching to help maintain your flexibility. Deep breathing and mindfulness can also reduce anxiety.
- You are not alone. Join a virtual workout class or live movement session online. For older adults organisations like Age & Opportunity and Siel Bleu are hosting virtual sessions on their Facebook pages.
Follow guidelines on social distancing if engaging in activity outdoors.
If you haven’t been physically active for a while – start slowly and at a light intensity and increase your activity levels in line with your current ability. If in doubt talk with a health professional.
If you are unwell or have COVID-19, please use your energy to get better and do not try to be active. If you develop fever, cough or shortness of breath, stop physical activity and contact your GP or health professional.