COVID-19 and Physical Exercise

COVID-19 and Physical Exercise

Due to the COVID-19 means of transmission, social distancing has been one of the most effective ways in preventing the spread of the virus. However, social distancing does not necessarily mean all persons need to stay in their house all day.  We want to encourage physical activity and exercise, both indoors and out.  There are different ways to exercise or work out while continuing to follow social distancing guidelines.

Get outside and get some fresh air!  Go for a walk, jog or a bike ride around your neighborhood. Take advantage of North Andover’s 70 miles of hiking trails and several open spaces.  Go to the Friends of North Andover Trails website to take a look for yourself.  These are great places to exercise locally while following social distancing guidelines.

If you already utilize a personal trainer or fitness center, reach out to them or check their website. Many trainers or fitness centers have workout plans or classes you can follow online.
Try forms of exercise such as yoga or calisthenics if you lack workout equipment at home. For example, the American Heart Association has tips for creating circuit workout plans involving cardio or strength exercises using only your body and household items.

Break up time spent seated or lying down during leisure time.
Workout while working at home – utilize stretching or walking around periodically. Try standing while working instead of sitting.  If you get a call, you can pace back and forth while speaking on the phone.
Utilize technology – use the internet to research supplemental ways to stay active. Many phones have the ability to download workout apps that can provide activities to engage in. Using websites like YouTube and other video sharing platforms can provide follow-along style classes in the comfort of your own home.

You should only exercise when you feel able to. If you are sick or not feeling well, wait until you feel better to participate in physical activity. Also, be cautious while working out and only do activities you feel comfortable completing. Pay attention to your body to avoid injury or overexertion.

Physical activity ideas when at home

Individual ideas
Strength and stability – Examples include pushups, burpees, sit-ups or crunches, wall sits, squats, planks, lunges, and many others.
Cardio – Whether in place or not, examples include walking, jogging, running, jumping jacks, high knees, climbing stairs and many others.
Use apps on your phone or tablet like the Nike Training Club or others for more ideas and workouts.

Ideas for kids
Active games – games like hide-and-seek, charades, dance parties and more can keep kids active and moving during time at home.
Outdoor activity – with social distancing in place, many people are avoiding areas like parks and playgrounds. At home, you can play hopscotch, use jump ropes, or kick a soccer ball around.
Interactive screen time – Check out apps like GoNoodle or other items that get kids involved and moving while watching TV.

Ideas for Seniors
On your computer or smartphone, watch Go4Life Exercises on for different exercises you can do at home.
You can also visit the National Council on Aging (NCOA) online blog ( and click on “Healthy Living”.  On that page, you will see an article titled “Encouraging older adults to stay active and safe during the coronavirus pandemic”.  This blog has many resources and advice on exercising safely during this time of social distancing.
Aim for exercises that benefit balance, endurance, strength and flexibility.
When exercising, start slowly and drink plenty of fluids. Warm up your muscles before you stretch. Wear appropriate shoes and clothing while exercising, and only do what you feel comfortable completing.

Stay fit, stay healthy and stay safe