Exercise while staying at home

While we're all staying at home in our bubbles, it's still important for your wellbeing to keep physically active. While you might not be able to do your normal exercise there are still lots of ways to keep moving.

Key points

  1. Getting outside is not only good for your physical health but your mental wellbeing as well, and during the lockdown period you can still enjoy a walk, run or bike ride, as long as you stay 2 metres away from anyone who is not in your home. You can not meet up with other people while you are out. 
  2. If you can't get outside due to the weather, there are lots of lots of online resources available. Just check that the provider is trained to provide exercise advice.
  3. Work within your limits – now is not the time to be injuring yourself and putting pressure on our healthcare system. 
  4. If you belong to a gym check out if they are providing access to online workouts.
  5. And now might be the time that the long forgotten purchase of that exercise bike or rowing machine really comes in to its own.
  6. Remember exercise can be in small amounts throughout the day if you are trying to work from home while looking after kids.

Get creative

  • Keep active and include the whole family by having a family dance off. Each day a different person can pick the music.
  • If you have a backyard, bounce on the trampoline if you have one or organise a game of football or rugby for your family.
  • You can go out for a walk on your local streets as long as you stay 2 metres away form anyone else, so bring the kids – they can ride their bikes or scooters while you run or walk.
  • If you have a gaming console, use any exergames installed.
  • If you're in an apartment and have a balcony, try doing a workout with neighbours on their balconies.
  • If you have a garden, now's the time to catch up on all your gardening jobs.

Make use of what you've got

Make use of what you have at home: tins of food can be weights, you can do exercises that use your own body weight, such as push-ups and sit-ups, or use the wall or chairs to help. See the World Health Organization's suggestions. 

Turn on your TV

It's not your usual exercise advice and it will involve getting off the couch! TVNZ has partnered with Les Mills to offer free-to-air workouts, ranging from high-intensity training to stretching and meditation from 30 March at 9am and 3pm. This includes workouts designed specifically for young children and teenagers. The workouts will also be available on TVNZ OnDemand.

Go online

The UK's National Health Service has lots of free workout videos for beginner and intermediate level on their website including:

  • aerobics
  • dancing
  • belly dancing
  • pilates
  • yoga
  • strength and resistance workouts, including workouts for people with back pain, knee problems, scoliosis, osteoporosis and MA and fibromyalgia.

Find them at NHS Fitness Studio (Note: There is a link to join InstructorLive, who provided the videos, but the individual videos on the NHS page are free.)

Look local

New Zealand group BBM Motivation was started to help Māori and Pasifika people live healthier lives and set an example for their family/whānau and friends. They have live-streamed video workouts for you to do anywhere, anytime, including from your home. See the workouts on their Facebook page.

Sport Auckland is also providing advice on how to stay active (and eat well) during the lockdown on its website and Facebook page.

Check out an app

There are so many fitness and exercise apps that the Health Navigator NZ App Library team has not been able to review them all. But they have identified independent organisations that have reviewed the following apps, as well as other resources that may be helpful.  

Resource

Description

Healthy living apps

(VicHealth, Australia)

This website has reviewed more than 250 physical activity and sport apps. To find an app that suits you, you can search for apps by device, age group and pricing.

 

Exercise apps

(My Health Apps, UK)
 

This website has reviews of physical activity and sport apps. 

 

Health & Fitness app reviews

(Common Sense Media, US)

This website has reviews of health and fitness apps for children.  

 

National Institute On Aging  (US)

This website has:

SuperHealth project (US)

This organisation is currently evaluating a home-based exercise training system for people with a mobility disability. 

Stay motivated

  • Have a routine so that you do something at a similar time each day.
  • Vary what you do to reduce boredom.
  • Set a goal to walk a distance or do a certain level of workout.
  • Include activities that stretch your body, build your strength and are aerobic, such as walking, running or cycling.
  • Keep a log of what you've done and challenge yourself to do a bit more each day.
  • Do it with the other people in your bubble – make it a game for small children or a even a competition with older ones and adults.

Credits: Health Navigator Editorial Team.