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Simple Ways to Stay Active During COVID-19

Amanda Wise, MS, OTR/L, LMGC

Occupational Therapist | Health & Wellness Coach

Key Complete Therapies

July 1, 2020

We are feeling stress from this pandemic, and it is affecting our sleep, nutrition, hobbies, and relationships. Adding movement to our routine is one of the most effective ways we can address these negative health effects. What if attending exercise groups, walking at the mall, and going to the gym are not available options right now? Several common sayings come to mind, such as “a little goes a long way,” “it all adds up,” and “the more the merrier.” These sayings apply since COVID-19 introduced social restrictions. Below are several activity suggestions for heart, muscle, and brain health. When combined, these strategies provide more benefit for your mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual well-being.

Ready, set, go! Find a regular time that fits into your schedule. Before you know it, your regular time becomes a routine. Brisk walking for 10 minutes after each meal or for 2-3 minutes every hour quickly adds up to the total recommended amount for heart health. Can’t go out? Locate a walking path in your home or make a small standing exercise space. Keep in mind that safety comes first, and your moving pace should be only as fast as is comfortable. Adapt activities to make them safe for you, such as standing at the counter or using a chair. Chair activities are fun and creative because we can simultaneously move our arms, upper body, and legs. Just imagine marches, toe taps, heel touches, kicks, punches, elbows to knees, arm raises and circles. Ready to add some resistance to your physical activity routine? Finding a comfortable hand weight can be tricky. Partially fill with water a plastic bottle or half-gallon plastic milk jug for upper body resistance. You may also find canned foods in various sizes, adjusting resistance as you progress.

Tune in and reach out! Music and socialization increase our memory, attention, mood, and problem-solving. Regular conversations, exercise, and hobbies with others are shown to have positive health benefits. Pick a new weekly game or discussion group. People may bring their own materials, and the following suggestions include movement and/or conversation where everyone is 6 feet apart (i.e. Name that Tune, Charades, Pictionary, Bingo, Walking Book club, etc.). Finally, start a neighbor recipe exchange in your area. A diet rich in color and full of whole, unprocessed foods helps our body and brain fight chronic diseases like dementia, heart disease, stroke, obesity, diabetes, and arthritis. No contact is necessary, and sharing favorite recipes with others is a terrific way to get some extra steps in, to meet some new people, and to learn about new ways to add fruits, vegetables, and whole grains to your diet!

If you’d like more information contact Amanda Wise, Certified Occupational Therapist and Health & Wellness Coach at Key Complete Therapies, phone 402-819-8477 or email