9 ways to stay active during the COVID quarantine

Jul 9, 2020


Health experts recommend we wear masks and keep a distance of at least 6 feet from other people to help slow the spread of the coronavirus. And many cities and states have some kind of "stay home" order in effect.

But that doesn't mean you can't get the 150 to 300 minutes of exercise per week that’s recommended for most people. While you should avoid going to the gym or other places where people gather, you still can get the exercise you need.

“Our bodies were designed to move a lot, and the simple act of going outside for a walk, jog, bike or run or lifting weights can be mentally and physically freeing,” says Ashlyn Howie, a family nurse practitioner at Adventist Health Primary Care – Gresham Troutdale.

Helping your immune system fight COVID

There's good reason to make a point of staying active. For one thing, exercise helps your immune system stay healthy. And that's very important right now.

It's also a great way to cope with the stress and anxiety you may be feeling. “I am seeing more anxiety and depression in my patients more than ever due to current events,” says Ashlyn. “Exercise not only is beneficial for your physical body but also for your mind and spirit.”

Exercise is so important, in fact, that even cities and states that have asked residents to stay home still allow people to go outside for exercise as long as you practice social distancing by staying 6 feet away from other people.

So there's nothing stopping you from tried-and-true activities like taking a walk, run or bike ride nearby.

Think outside the gym

Tired of taking walks? Get creative with close-to-home activities like these:

  • Have a virtual dance party with friends over video chat.
  • If you have stairs, climb up and down for 10 minutes at a time. Or work them into a strength routine with moves like inclined pushups or tricep dips.
  • Make up your own jump rope and shadowboxing routine. No equipment required.
  • Stream a free yoga video. Now is an ideal time to perfect that warrior pose.
  • Get outside into your garden and tackle some yardwork. Nature is a great stress-reliever too.
  • Play active games, like soccer, with your family (as long as everyone is healthy).
  • If you're working from home, take some laps around the house on your breaks. Or have a walking phone conference.
  • Do some wall-sits while you read a book.
  • Make up a circuit workout with different activities in each room, like jumping jacks, burpees and lunges.

Staying active and COVID-safe

Ashlyn offers several ways you can make sure you and your family increase your activity while staying safe from injuries and the spread of coronavirus.

  • Don’t think of this as “exercise.” Try using the word “movement” instead.
  • Start gradually if you’ve been inactive for a long time or you’re trying new activities. Emphasize progress and consistency.
  • Continue to keep physical distance from people outside your household.
  • Wear a mask if you can’t keep your distance or if the area where you’re walking or running has a lot of people.

Most of all, don’t give up. “Even the most seasoned athletes don’t enjoy working out,” Ashlyn says. “It won’t always be easy to get out the door, but I challenge you to push through even when you don’t feel up to it. You will be glad you pushed yourself to work out at the end.”

If you need advice on starting a new activity program, you can make an appointment with Ashlyn Howie or another Adventist Health primary care provider by calling 503-261-6929. At the end of the day, staying active is one of the best moves you can make.

Sources: American College of Sports Medicine; American Heart Association; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention