Coronavirus Guidance for Exercising whilst Self-Isolating

Tuesday 17 March 2020

How to exercise at home if you’re in self-isolation

If you’re in self-isolation it’s likely that your normal routines are severely disrupted. Keeping your body and mind fit and healthy is even more important in the current situation with Coronavirus starting to spread.

Studies have shown that after two weeks of reduced exercise, even athletes have considerable strength, conditioning and cardiac loss so it important to make sure you are moving your body and not just hopping between your bed and your sofa every day.

Being at home, may be incredibly lonely and has the potential to impact your mental health. Keeping active can help to limit this.

Exercise can also help to boost your immune system and has a hugely positive impact on mental and physical well-being.

Staying active will help to:

  • Reduce anxiety and improve your mental health
  • Help improve balance, posture, flexibility and prevent falls
  • Improve your muscle and bone health
  • Help control symptoms of chronic diseases
  • Improve the health of your heart
  • Give you more energy
  • Reduce your risk of heart attack or stroke
  • Help with relaxation and sleep quality
  • Reduce pain

While a home workout may not always replace an exercise class, gym session or being outside, there are plenty of ways to remain active in your home. You don’t need anything but your body weight to exercise, however, if you do want to add variety there are a few common things around the house can help keep you busy until you can get back out to your normal exercise routine.

I’m self-isolating, can I go outside to my garden?

The website states that ‘Self-isolation means you should stay indoors and avoid physical contact with others’.

Is it safe to exercise if you’re unwell or showing symptoms?

Do not exercise with symptoms. Rest, keep hydrated and once your symptoms subside, then you can begin to exercise again.

If after any form of physical activity, you feel more breathless than usual or just unwell, stop and don’t do any more until your symptoms have resolved. If you are worried seek medical advice.

How much exercise should I do?

Try to maintain a similar level to what you were doing prior to self-isolating.  This may not be possible but aim to do at least something every day. This should be ‘moderate intensity’ exercise, meaning that both your heart and breathing rates should increase, and you might break a sweat, but you should still be able to hold a conversation.

It is worth noting that studies have found that after an intensive exercise session (e.g. to fatigue), your immune system does not function as well as it normally does. This means that in the hours following the session, if you have been exposed to someone who has been sick with the flu or Coronavirus, your body’s defences are down.  It may be worth considering avoiding intensive workouts whilst the risk of contracting Coronavirus remains higher.

What exercises can I do at home?

Here are our top recommendations:

  • Walking / Jogging

Depending on your level of fitness you might like to try some of these different ideas:

  • When settling down to eat, sit on your chair and stand up again 10 times before you start your meal.
  • Use advert breaks as a reminder to get up and move around or change position – you might like to consider marching on the spot / jogging or standing up and sitting down repeatedly during advert breaks. Also consider walking to the TV to change the channel or volume instead of using the remote control.
  • Try to get up and walk around your home every hour.


  • Cardiovascular Exercise
    • Stair Exercises – Stair climbing is an excellent way to do both cardio and strength training exercises. You first need to check your fitness level and balance to decide if exercising on the stairs is safe and err on the side of caution when in doubt — falling on the stairs or downstairs can be very serious. Only exercise on the stairs if you feel safe to do so.
    • Walk or Jog the Stairs – walk up and down the stairs continuously for several minutes – start out with a few minutes but each day you can build up by a minute more. Take the stairs by two to increase the intensity and difficulty of this exercise. You can do this whilst walking or jogging.
    • HIIT: For those who are used to doing regular high intensity workouts, consider some home HIIT programmes such as the Body Coach programmes which you can find here on You Tube:
    • Fitness Blender has over 500 free workout videos
    • Sport England have an excellent resource for useful tips on how you can be active when you’re at home.


  • Fall Prevention Exercises

Falls prevention is important when at home.

Below is a link to 6 simple Fall Prevention exercises produced by the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy:


An excellent resource with 24 Instructor led videos covering


  • Game based exercises

Sometimes the key to a home workout is tricking yourself into doing one.  Many of us have home based gaming systems such as Nintendo Wii and Switch which have gaming based exercise video games. These types of games may be ‘virtual’, but the movements can be effective and have a really positive effect on your body.


  • Dancing

Dancing is an effective and fun way to stay fit, increase stamina and flexibility, strengthen and tone muscles. You don’t have to be going out to hit the dance floor. Turn up your favourite tunes and dance around your home.

These Disney dance-along are a great resource for a bit of fun at home with the family:


  • Housework (This may not be your favourite one!)

Housework is a perfect way to combine a little exercise with your usual activities. Turn chores into a workout by speeding them up or being more energetic.  Here are some ideas:

  • When loading and unloading the washing machine, stand with your feet hip-width apart and your back straight, hold in your tummy muscles, bend your knees in a squat, then straighten them again.
  • When vacuuming, use long drawn-out movements and use the whole body instead of just your arm.
  • Time yourself to see how long it takes you to dust all the furniture in a room, then when it needs to be done again try to get it done faster.
  • Why not consider using this time to clean out your cupboards or doing the DIY jobs you never get around to!

Finally, don’t underestimate the importance of sleep and good nutrition and don’t exercise if you feel unwell.

If you are worried about your ability to exercise in your own home and wish to discuss your concerns, you can call our Move More Manager, Cirsty de Gruchy on 757708.

For up to date advice on how to self isolate please see:

If you are exercising at home, we would love to see what you are up to.  Please don’t forget to post on your social media channels and use the hashtag #movemorejersey

For more ideas and hints / tips on exercising then please go to our Move More website and monitor our social media channels for up to date information. 


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