Quarantine workout and fitness tips

How to stay fit without a gym or special equipment.

Aproil 25, 2020


The other day a cousin mentioned how hard it’s been for him to stay active because his gym was closed due to COVID-19. Given that he’s a former athlete, I was surprised to learn he had no equipment at home and depended on going to the gym to exercise.

Then I realized he’s not alone. Many have been feeling lost about how to stay fit and active. But we don’t need a gym or equipment for this. In fact, exercise doesn’t have to resemble anything you’d do at a gym. This article outlines ways to do this and get motivated.

Let’s start with more traditional exercise options that don’t need any equipment:

  • Go for a walk or run outside, maintaining proper social distancing, of course. The bonus is that you’ll get some fresh air and natural light, which helps enhance mood and energy levels, improves sleep and gives your body a boost of Vitamin D.
  • Find online workout videos or download a free workout app. During the pandemic, even many subscription-based apps are available free of charge.
  • Fitnessblender.com is great site with a wide variety of free workout videos.
  • Search YouTube for free exercise videos. Use specific search terms like 15-minute ab workout, HIIT training for beginners, advanced yoga workout, etc.
  • The 7 Minute Workout: Fitness App is one of my favorite fitness apps because workouts are as short as seven minutes.
  • Check out darbee.com for workouts and 30-day challenges as well.

For less traditional exercise options:

  • What yard work needs to be done? Does your lawn need mowing? Flower bed need weeding? Yard work is a great form of physical activity, yet few of us actually count it as exercise.
  • Turn on your favorite music and simply dance around your living room. If you have kids at home, they can do this too.
  • Speaking of kids, find active games to play with your kids. Examples: tag, hide-and-seek, Twister, charades, etc.

Even regular gym goers might find it difficult to stay motivated now, given all the changes in daily routines. So create a routine that’s new but similar:

  • If you normally exercised after the kids went to school, set them up for the first 30 minutes of school work at home, then exercise.
  • If you normally went to the gym after work but now it’s closed, exercise at the end of the work day before switching gears to family time.

Also, consider the following:

  • Schedule your exercise just like you would anything else. Put it on your calendar. Studies show that people who schedule exercise as a to-do item are more likely to follow through.
  • Use the five-minute rule. When you don’t want to exercise, tell yourself you’re just going to start. If after five minutes you still really don’t want to do it, stop. Getting started is often the hardest part. And once we do, we usually feel better and keep going.
  • Plan your exercise as a break from work. When working from home, it can be more challenging to take the breaks we usually make time for in the office.
  • Break up your exercise into shorter segments and spread them throughout the day. Believe it or not, three 10-minute exercise breaks are just as good as one that takes 30 minutes.
  • Exercise first thing in the morning. This can be tough, but exercising early means no excuses later. Studies show that people who do a task first thing in the morning tend to be more positive and productive the rest of the day.
  • Sign up for a 5k or other fitness event for later in the year. That way, you’ll have something fun to work toward.

Daily life has been turned upside down since the pandemic began. In times like these, focusing on what we can control goes a long way in helping manage stress and worry.

One thing we have control over is self-care, and exercise is part of that. So as hard as it might be right now, you’ll feel better when you’re more active. Plus, being active promotes a strong and healthy immune system, which may help keep you from getting sick.


By Jasmine Miller, MS, CN

Horizontal Rule

The information provided is for general informational purposes only and is not intended to be medical advice or a substitute for professional health care. You should consult an appropriate health care professional for your specific needs.