Alright, you’ve probably heard how being active can help you be healthy physically and mentally. So what do we do to keep moving our bodies when we’re stuck in isolation in our homes and not able to go to the gym or work?
Well, we could get stuck in the cycle of sitting, and sitting, and sitting some more. Eventually feeling stiff so we want to keep sitting. But getting up and moving is actually the real answer to feeling less stiff. Moving our body can even reducing our risk of disease and early mortality (1), not to mention it can also help reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression (2).
Fortunately, many of us do live in places where we can get creative and find solutions (with a little will-power) to keep physically active.
Here are some ideas to keep you moving even if you are in isolation. These ideas are intended to provide you with inspiration that may be outside the box, but still doable. They’ve been divided into categories based on the areas you are permitted to explore: home, yard, and out and about. Check with local rules currently in place to keep everyone safe and mind social distancing.
Some things to note:
Select ideas that make sense for your current fitness level and abilities. Please be sure to consider any self-isolation you may need to be doing due to travel, sickness, or other variables. Note that these are ideas only, and that you must do your part to keep yourself, family, and community safe.
How to Stay Active At Home
Even if you are confined to your apartment, house, or wherever it is that you live, you can still keep moving. Some of these ideas you can start right away, and some you’ll need to clear an area in your home so you don’t bump into things. Either way, pick one and get moving!
- Listen to a podcast or audiobook as you go up and down the stairs. Take your time. Aim for 10 minutes. If you are looking for more of a challenge add in a run or jump up the stairs.
- Use an at-home workout DVD or check Instagram stories for live workouts. Many gyms are hosting their own live workout series to keep people motivated. You can begin your search by looking up your favorite fitness center or instructor.
- Use gym equipment you have hiding under your bed, in the closet, or under your laundry. No more using these items as a clothing storage rack or dust collector!
- Have a friendly weekly competition with your roommates, kids, or partner. An example could be recording your plank time every day and see who has the longest total time for the week. Other things to try are seeing who can do the most jumping jacks in 60 seconds. You could even hold these competitions live through face time with friends as a way to stay connected and motivated.
- Do yoga. There are lots of tutorials on YouTube. No mat? Look for standing or sitting specific series so that you can still do them without a mat.
- Learn to do handstands. There are some good resources online to do this, just be sure to listen to your body and have lots of room around you!
- Go through some mobility drills. Again, check online. Most of these can be done with just your bodyweight and no equipment.
- Hold your kids or carry them like a backpack to do squats or other movements throughout the house. They are sure to have as much fun as you (or more!).
- Clean your whole home top to bottom. Be sure to move everything off the floor and furniture, too!
- Play Twister! There are so many odd poses to hold, you are sure to work on your strength and mobility. Plus, it is a fun way to interact with family or roommates.
- Follow along on Just Dance videos on Youtube (if you don’t have the game). This is a good one for kids and adults alike!
- Have a dance party with your roommates or family. Even if it ends up being cheesy, I’m sure you will all laugh.
- Clean out the attic, garage, or other space in your home you have been meaning to but felt you didn’t have the time or energy for previously. Now it can be an excuse to keep you moving, and you will be sure to gain satisfaction from your efforts.
How to Stay Active Outside: Yard/Parks
If you happen to have a yard, great! Now is your chance to take advantage of it, even if you’ve never done a thing to it other than cut grass a couple times a year. No yard but can venture out? Visit a nearby park and make use of the green space. Of course, check local rules before heading out and keep social distancing. Some of these ideas can even be done on a balcony, if you happen to have an apartment with one of those.
Taking advantage of the warm spring weather and increasing hours of sunshine may be just want you need to stay motivated.
- Work on the landscaping you have been promising yourself, such as raising the sidewalk blocks or building a garden.
- Use any fitness equipment you have outside: dumbbells, kettlebells, mace, resistance bands, etc. This way you’ll get some fresh air while working out.
- Use the kids’ swing set for pull-ups and other exercises. But before attempting this, first check that it is cemented into the ground and meant to hold your weight.
- Start a flowerbed or vegetable garden. There are so many activities involved in this, activities like tilling the soil, digging, planting, and hauling water.
- Pick weeds. Hold on! I know this is not the most exciting chore but you can enlist the help of someone you live with to make it conversational, listen to music or a podcast, or talk on the phone with someone you haven’t been able to see in a while. You can do that all the while squatting, and lifting, and other movements you need to do to get the job done.
- Carry heavy things across the yard like a large rock, or pail filled with soil. Enlist family members to join you so you can cheer one another on. You can carry it in front of you as you walk, or try walking lunges. Believe it or not but this can be done for fun or exercise, not only if you have things that need to be moved around in the yard.
- Have a friendly weekly competition with your roommates, kids, or partner with activities you need the room outdoors for, such as standing long jump, or a running race. You can keep track of your results over time to see improvements, or post as accountability with other people you keep in contact with but have not been able to see in a while.
- Build or restore an old piece of furniture or other handy project. Dig out your tools and see what you can create.
- Play tag with the kids or roommates. There are so may different versions of tag that you can play. Check online if want to find new version to try.
- Have a water fight with your roommates or family. You don’t need water guns to do this. Just fill a big tub/barrel/kiddie pool in the yard with water, then give everyone an old container (one meant for leftovers or an empty food container), and everyone can refill it as needed. You may need to create a safety zone around the water barrel so it gets people moving around more.
- Play old games from childhood with family and roommates like tug’o’war. You’ll want to use a sturdy rope for this!
- Pull out Hula Hoops, Devil Sticks, and other circus toys from your childhood, or purchase some from a local distributor. These are just as fun to play with as an adult as when we were kids. Explore Instagram and Youtube for ideas and inspiration.
- Climb a tree; just make sure you can get back down.
- Repot your house plants that are growing too big. I suggest doing this outside on the balconey or in your yard so there is less mess to clean up. While you are at it, why not plant some herbs in the small pots if you’d like to have them growing indoors (or outdoors).
- Order a kettlebell or sandbag from a local fitness equipment provider so you can play around with new ways of moving. Being outside gives you more room to do this. Bonus: any dents you create from dropping these items as you learn the moves will do done outside. Better to have dents in the lawn than in the house.
How to Stay Active While You’re Out and About
If you can get out and about then go for it! Of course, you still want to keep practicing social distancing and respect for other’s space. If you are in the health to be exploring outside and can do so safely, then here are some ideas to get you going.
- Go for a hike. Check for trails within your city or go explore someplace beyond. Be sure to bring water and pack snacks if you will be gone for a while. You can also check out different trail apps available for download to help you find suggestions of where to go, how long the trails are, how difficult the trails are, and to help you out if you get lost.
- Play basketball at a nearby school court or community center yard, just bring your own ball.
- Use a local outdoor track to go for a run. Can’t find one? Check nearby high schools. You could also go for a run on one of the trails you discovered in idea #29.
- Go for a bike ride. Check out a nearby trail, quiet street, or provincial park. Many cities have designated bike trails, and sometimes even roads that are turned into bike routes for certain days and times of the week. You’ll need to check in with your particular city.
- Go rollerblading on a quiet street or city park. Or rollerskating, if you have those instead. In many cities, you can do these activities on the paved bike routes, too.
- Visit a playground and use the monkey bars, just wash/sanitize your hands afterward. This is a great way to work your upper body! Swing yourself across the structure bar by bar to the other side. You can also change things up by going backwards or sideways, or use the side of the rail for pull-ups.
- Visit outdoor restoration areas, like gardens with prairie tall grass. Some of these places have wonderful native plants you may have never noticed before. You’ll get to explore and learn more about them and how they contribute to the ecosystem.
- Go to a city park to see the baby ducks. Check by the pond or river and walk around to explore.
- Use a kayak or canoe to explore a nearby lake or stream. Perhaps bring some lunch so you can go farther, with a picnic planned partway through.
- If you have a dog, you can take it to a dog park. Check for ones in your area. Some are fenced in while others are not. Some cities also designate skate rinks as dog parks when it is not skating season, you will just need to check first. Play fetch or walk around on the trails.
So that’s it! 38 ideas to keep you moving and grooving. Some you can do alone and some you’ll need family or roommates to make them happen. Either way I hope this has inspired you to be creative and find ways to explore movement, even if the world is outside our norm right now.