Coronavirus: How to exercise while staying at home

If you are under 70 with no underlying conditions you can still be active outside as long as you stay at least two metres (three paces) away from other people. So walking the dog (or even your neighbour’s dog), going for a run or going for a bike ride are all fine – provided you keep your distance.

If you are over 70 and self-isolating, pregnant or have an underlying health condition, but feel well, you can also go outside with the same caveat of keeping your distance from others.

For older people, strength and balance exercises are particularly important, says Jess Kuehne, senior program manager from the Centre for Ageing Better, as muscle strength starts to decline rapidly after our 30s. She recommends yoga, tai chi, resistance training and seated exercises.

If you are self-isolating with symptoms, or someone in your household has them, you shouldn’t leave home but that doesn’t mean you should stop moving. It’s really important to use movement and activity as a way of breaking up your routine, if you feel well enough. Cook, play active games, dance, go into the garden if you’ve got one.

If you are unwell – use your energy to get better and don’t try to be active. If you can get out of bed, then do so but don’t try to do too much.

Finally, if you are feeling better after having had the virus, return to your normal routine very gradually. We don’t know what the long term effects are but as far as we know, there is no reason why you can’t gently return to normal activity.

Of course there are many fitness websites and online apps people can use to help find a routine with Daily Yoga workout and fitness and Calm, a meditation and sleep app currently among the most popular downloads in the UK.

And while you’re at home, tempting as it is, try not to eat everything in sight, Ms Hopkins reminds us.

“Aim to minimise stress. And try to use the time wisely – read that book, do an online course, learn a new language, clear out the cupboards. It will all help,” she says.

Exercises to try at home (as advised by This Girl Can)

Woman doing exerciseImage copyrightGETTY IMAGES
  • Chair tricep dips – Sit on the edge of a chair holding onto the front with your hands. Place your feet out in front of you (bent legs for easier option or straight legs to make it harder) and lower your elbows to a 90-degree angle before pushing back up.
  • Table top press ups – Incline press ups can be done anywhere around the home – on a table, a bed, a chair or even a wall. To use a table, place your hands on the table with your legs stretched out behind you, body nice and straight. Lower your weight down keeping your elbows tight to your body, and press back up.
  • Living room wall sits – find a wall with a big enough space for you to lean on. Sit against the wall like you would in a chair with your legs at 90 degrees, and hold. Give it time and you’ll soon feel the burn!
  • Milk bottle Russian twists – Sit on the floor holding a milk bottle (or any bottle with liquid in). Lean back with a straight back and engage your core. Rotate your torso and try to touch the floor each side with the milk bottle. Make it harder by lifting your feet off the floor.