Staying Active During Isolation – Homing in on Creative Exercising!

Michael Czaplowski Cancer and Exercise, COVID-19, Exercise and Coronavirus, Exercise and COVID-19, Exercise Physiology, News

Recent promising data indicates that most Australians are doing their part in staying home to avoid exposure and the spreading of coronavirus virus (COVID-19). The result is that most of us are isolated in our homes which can make maintaining an exercise routine seem like a challenge, but we are here to tell you why this is not necessarily the case.

As we touched on in our latest blog “COVID-19, Exercise, and Immunity: What You Need To Know”, keeping active within the recommended exercise guidelines (found here!) is important for maximising our immunity as well as our physical and mental health during the ongoing pandemic.

So then how can we juggle exercise, working from home, looking after our immediate family, and running a household all at once? The keys are preparation, routine and being creative!

Some handy hints for including movement into your new daily routine include:

  • If working from home, substituting your regular commute time with an exercise routine. This could be a walk, a home resistance program, or even just some gentle stretching. 
  • Use exercise to break up your day and escape the home office by going for a brisk walk (this can even just be done in your backyard) or bike ride – just be sure to abide by social distancing recommendations. We recommend doing this at the start of the day, during your lunch break, and/or? in the evening. Aim to achieve at least 30 minutes total per day, but remember anything is better than nothing.
  • Try to maintain a similar exercise routine each day. Our bodies are creatures of habit and will appreciate this.
  • Perform short bouts of exercise when you perform your non-negotiable tasks for the day. Cleaning your teeth? Do 10 squats. Having a cup of tea? That’s 10 calf raises. Getting dressed?  10 wall pushups first.
  • If watching TV, during an ad break, get up, do a lap of the house or even just do some balance exercises to avoid sitting for long periods of time.

With most people turning their homes into their new gym, one of the challenges that we are all presented with at the moment is finding exercise equipment for strength training. This is where we need to get creative!

  • Fill up water bottles, old milk bottles, and other containers (just make sure they don’t leak)
  • Use canned foods (creamed corn anyone?). Most cans of food = about 400-500g. Tape two together and you have a 1kg weight. Tape 4 together and you have a 2kg weight.
  • Fill a reusable shopping bag with anything you can find around the house and all of a sudden you have an adjustable weight that is easy to hold on to when performing resistance exercises.
  • Got a backpack sitting around? Throw in a couple of old books and you have yourself a weighted vest that makes bodyweight exercises like squats and calf raises more challenging.
  • Chairs, tables, kitchen bench, stairs, and walls? Introduce yourself to your new gym machines.

Still struggling to think of ways to incorporate physical activity into your new daily routine? Try some of these ideas:

  • Got a set of stairs at your house? Have a go at going up and down these for 10-15 minutes a couple of times per day. Count how many times you go up and down then try to beat it next time. 
  • 15 minute dance parties. Unwind by putting on your favourite songs and having a boogie, we promise no one is watching!
  • Get the kids involved and do some skipping, or teach them how to play hopscotch! Afterall age is just a number.
  • Now is a better time than ever to finally start/finish that garden project you have been talking about. Gardening is a great form of exercise and presents a good opportunity for us to be outdoors.
  • Start yoga – c’mon we know you have always wanted to! There are plenty of videos online with easy to follow yoga workouts for all abilities.

Still having trouble with coming up with ways to be more active while living in isolation, or after some expertise on a suitable home exercise plan? We are here to help you get started. Contact an Exercise Physiologist today and let us help you get more active in your own home!

NOTE: We recommend seeking medical advice from a qualified expert (that’s us) or your GP prior to beginning an exercise program if you have a diagnosis or history of cancer.


Written by Michael Czaplowski, Accredited Exercise Physiologist at Movement Against Cancer