American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM)

Staying Physically Active during the COVID-19 Pandemic

18-Mar-2020 1:45 PM EDT, by American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM)

Newswise — Physical activity is associated with a healthier immune system. The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommend that adults achieve 150-300 minutes per week of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity and two sessions per week of muscle strength training. However, the current coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic present challenges to maintaining a physically active lifestyle. With gym and community center closures, individuals and families are being forced to adapt their routines and find new ways to be active at home. 

“For all of us, young and old, regular physical activity remains an important strategy for staying healthy,” says American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) Past President Liz Joy, M.D., M.P.H., FACSM. “Compared to being sedentary, moderate-intensity physical activity is associated with better immune function. Regular physical activity is also associated with lower levels of anxiety and perceived stress, which many of us are feeling. Fit in two, five, 10 or 20 minutes of activity, however and wherever you can. Every active minute counts!”

Here are a few strategies to help you maintain physical activity from the comfort of your home: 

Indoor Aerobic Activities

  • Put some music on and walk briskly around the house or up and down the stairs for 10-15 minutes two or three 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 

Outdoor Aerobic Activities

  • Walk or jog around your neighborhood (avoid crowded spaces)
  • Be active in a local park. Spending time in nature may enhance immune function. Be sure to 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. 

Muscle Strength Training

  • 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 such as: 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! If watching TV, get up during every commercial and do a lap around your home or an active chore (i.e., throw some clothes in the laundry, do the dishes or take out the garbage). Feel productive after just one show!


Download this information for easy reference or visit to view additional resources from the American College of Sports Medicine on physical activity guidelines, exercise types and duration, workout apps and exercise for overall health.

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