Exercise • 13 Apr 2020

Staying Active at Home

By uci_admin

Practicing social distancing should not mean staying sedentary. Under routine circumstances 80% of the US adult and adolescent population do not meet the recommended physical activity targets.1 Spending an excessive amount of time sitting or engaging in inactivity increases the risk of chronic disease and can worsen disease outcomes.1

The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans from the US Department of Health and Human Services recommend the following1.2:

Adults need to do at least 150 – 300 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic physical activity a week, or 75 – 150 minutes of vigorous intensity activity, or an equivalent combination of the two.

  1.  Adults should also participate in muscle strengthening activities ≥ 2 days a week.
  2.  Children and adolescents (ages 6-17) need to do at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous intensity aerobic activity daily.

How can you tell if you are partaking in moderate activity?

A person exercising at this intensity can talk but not sing.3

What about vigorous activity?

A person exercising at this intensity can only say a few words before pausing and taking a breath.3

Examples of Moderate-Intensity activity you can do while at home3

  • Brisk walking 3 miles per hour (mph) or faster
  • Bicycling <10 miles per hour on level terrain (stationary cycling or 6 feet away from others)
  • Yoga (vinyasa or power yoga)
  • Dancing
  • Yard work and home repair

Examples of Vigorous-Intensity activity you can do while at home3

  • Jogging or running
  • Bicycling > 10 mph (stationary cycling or 6 feet away from others)
  • Jumping rope
  • Aerobic dancing (Zumba)
  • High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

Muscle Strengthening Activities3

  • These activities should incorporate all major muscle groups
  • Utilize weights, bands, or body weight
  • It is recommended to complete 10-15 repetitions of each exercise, followed by a recovery period of at least 90 seconds this is considered one set. This sequence can be repeated for three to five sets total.

Examples of home exercises include4:

  • Walking in the house, to the store, or pharmacy as necessary
  • Lifting and carrying groceries
  • Alternating leg lunges
  • Climbing stairs
  • Stand-to-sit and sit-to-stand using a chair or the floor
  • Squats
  • Sit-ups
  • Pushups
  • Tai Chi
  • Qigong
  • Yoga
  • Balance exercises

Online Tools and Resources

General Guidelines

Physical activity can be safe for almost everyone and the benefits far outweigh the risks. It is always important to consult your doctor before starting or changing your exercise routine especially if you have any underlying health conditions.

By: Maddison Thivierge, ND: PGY-1


  1. Piercy K, Troiano R, Ballard R et al. The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. JAMA. 2018;320(19):2020. doi:10.1001/jama.2018.14854
  2. Piercy K, Troiano R. Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans From the US Department of Health and Human Services. Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes. 2018;11(11). doi:10.1161/circoutcomes.118.005263
  3. Physical Activity. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/index.html. Published 2020. Accessed March 24, 2020.
  4. Chen P, Mao L, Nassis G, Harmer P, Ainsworth B, Li F. Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): The need to maintain regular physical activity while taking precautions. J Sport Health Sci. 2020;9(2):103-104. doi:10.1016/j.jshs.2020.02.001
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