How to Stay Active During the Coronavirus Pandemic

Staying active might be one of the hardest parts of sheltering-in-place. Use these tips to get moving and feel better while you're stuck at home!

If you’re someone who likes to exercise at the gym, it’s probably tough for you to see them shut down during the pandemic and start a new routine. And staying active during stressful times can be really hard for anyone! But working on improving your health is one of the most important things to help boost your immune system and stay healthy so your body can fend off illness. Working out not only helps prevent diseases but also has a lot of positive effects on our mental health. Scientists have found that aerobic exercises like walking, jogging, swimming, and dancing reduce anxiety and depression due to the increased blood circulation to the brain. 

Although our everyday lives have drastically changed, there are ways to keep parts of your old exercise routine intact while also adding some new elements to keep your health in order. Here are some easy ways to help you get moving and feeling healthier at home.

Introduce yourself to yoga

A great way to manage your anxiety—in addition to your physical health—is meditative exercising like yoga. Yoga is designed to increase your strength and flexibility while also learning how to control your breathing, which will help you calm down and gain control over your stress. The meditative part of yoga helps you to be more mindful and present in the moment without thoughts of the future, which is probably something we all need right now. 

If you’re new to yoga, there are many styles of yoga to try, but Hatha yoga is the best choice for beginners, especially those trying to manage their stress levels. Try searching for free yoga videos online to get started.   

Get outside (in non-busy areas)

If you love being outdoors, a brisk walk around the park or in your neighborhood can provide plenty of benefits to your health and mood, but you could also try some more adventurous outdoors sports like hiking, trail running, or cycling. Growing scientific research shows a close connection to nature and our emotions, which is opening up a whole new field called ecotherapy. Although it might feel boring to go on these adventures alone, don’t go in large groups of people. You’ll still find value in exercising and nature by yourself, or ask someone in your immediate household to join you. 

Related: COVID-19: How to Cope With Anxiety

Take screen breaks

Although it can be tempting to spend all day in front of a screen, your eyes won’t be too happy about that. Even short walking breaks can keep your energy up and your blood flowing and help you maintain your productivity. If you’re sitting for the majority of the day, take 10 minutes multiple times a day to stretch out your whole body. Your back and legs will thank you if you’re sitting more than you're used to. 

Eat healthy, stay healthy

Don’t forget a huge part of our health—even bigger than exercising—is eating healthily. When we’re not feeling our best, we’re really good at indulging in bad habits like eating fast food, smoking, drinking, etc. Now is a good time to avoid these because healthy foods give us energy, and without energy, you’ll have no motivation to stay active.

Healthy foods like fresh fruits and veggies, healthy fats, and protein are not only good for our immune systems but also for disease prevention. A good, well-balanced diet can bring a lot of benefits to our mental well-being too. Several scientific studies have suggested that there is a link between the food one eats and the risk of depression. Researchers have looked at many diets to calculate the risk of developing depression and found that healthy eaters has a significantly lower risk of developing depression than, for example, someone consuming the standard American diet. 

Don’t feel guilty when you have a slow day

This situation is unprecedented, and everyone’s in the same boat, so don’t beat yourself up if you have an off day (or two). Sometimes the best thing you can do to make yourself feel better is to give yourself some time and space to adjust to a new schedule or routine. Eating some comfort food and having a movie marathon counts as self-care too, so don’t feel bad; just move on and try to get more steps in the next day.

Related: The Best Study Snacks for Healthy Eating in College

Although the future may seem a little blurry right now, social distancing is a crucial part of preventing the spread of COVID-19 further, but that doesn’t mean your activity levels have to suffer. With a little bit of creativity and a sprinkle of self-discipline, you can maintain or improve your physical and mental health until the gym reopens again. 

Check out our COVID-19 pandemic resources for more advice and helpful tools to get you through this hard time.

Like what you’re reading?

Join the CollegeXpress community! Create a free account and we’ll notify you about new articles, scholarship deadlines, and more.

Join Now


About Noah Markin

Noah Markin is the Editor in Chief at He was born in former Yugoslavia and has lived in many countries since then. In his free time, he loves basketball and soccer.


Join our community of
over 5 million students!

CollegeXpress has everything you need to simplify your college search, get connected to schools, and find your perfect fit.

Join CollegeXpress


High School Class of 2022

CollegeXpress has provided me with tips that were for college students, but as a high school junior, they were still very useful. Not only that, it also gave me an idea of what to expect when it comes to going to college or already being in college. I want to say thank you to CollegeXpress, and I hope you continue the wonderful tips until I hopefully get into college and throughout my college journey.

Jessica Rinker

Jessica Rinker

Student, Fairhaven High School; CollegeXpress Student Writer

My high school counselor introduced me to CollegeXpress freshman year. It has made such a difference in high school, and I plan to continue relying on it in college. CollegeXpress is my go-to because it addresses each aspect of being a student. There are the articles you’d expect regarding college applications and financial aid, but you will also find advice on things like de-stressing and maintaining relationships while balancing a heavy course load. CollegeXpress will also keep you updated on current scholarships through e-mails each Saturday. (They don’t harass you with any product promotion like so many other sites do.) CollegeXpress is a lot like an older sibling who has already conquered the challenges you are facing. Now, they are reaching out a helpful hand. I say take it.

Sonny Harris

Sonny Harris

College Student

For the entire year before college, I spent a lot of time deeply considering what major I wanted to go into and how to fund my higher education. After a lot of research, I came across CollegeXpress, which helped me ultimately find a ton of scholarships for which I could apply—and some of which I received! If it weren’t for CollegeXpress, I may not have found those scholarships as they didn't appear on any other scholarship search forum. Additionally, I learned more about the options I had been considering for my major through CollegeXpress’s resources. In the end, I chose to major in Computer Science, as it seemed best suited to me and the careers in the field seemed enjoyable, and I've never been more excited to move into my future! Ultimately, I want to thank CollegeXpress for offering their services. I received enough financial aid in scholarships to fund my entire freshman year of college and even got some money refunded which I used to purchase a new laptop, and I bought all of the books I needed for the semester!

Jeannie Borin, MEd

Jeannie Borin, MEd

President and Founder, College Connections

I frequently visit CollegeXpress to answer questions from students and parents. There are countless hot topics in admissions that need to be addressed. I enjoy reading what my colleagues post and gain additional insight from different perspectives.



High School Class of 2022

My mother signed me up for a couple of scholarship contests through CollegeXpress. I was also able to do some research and compare the different schools on my list. I was able to see the graduation rates and different programs that helped me decide on Adelphi University. I will continue looking for some scholarships for my start in September.

College Matches

Colleges You May Be Interested In

Drake University

Des Moines, IA

Saint Louis University

St. Louis, MO