Woman in black workout clothes doing plank on purple workout mat in white room

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: Adulting 101: Eating Right and Staying Healthy

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

coronavirus COVID-19 exercising health and safety staying active

About Noah Markin

Noah Markin is the Editor in Chief at Runnerclick.com. 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
CollegeXpress Logo


Are you our next winner?

Register now for our scholarship giveaway

Lu Diehl

Lu Diehl

High School Class of 2022

I never would have found the college I plan on attending without CollegeXpress! I've always been a person of ambition and have been dreaming of studying and working on my passion for law, legal studies, and political science. Washington College is where I plan on pursuing my career. My journey with my education has been difficult, and oftentimes, I was told I would never amount to much, but now I'm dual enrolled at Caroll Community College and have had experience in the fields I am dedicated to. Without the help of CollegeXpress (even in its early days), I would never have found Washington College and the information I need to apply and become a part of their community.

Maurice Whan

Maurice Whan

$2,000 Spring Scholarship Contest Winner, 2021

This year has been tough for my family and myself, so receiving this scholarship has been a blessing in disguise! CollegeXpress has been an excellent resource in helping me prepare financially for college. Thank you again for this amazing opportunity!



High School Class of 2021

CollegeXpress helped me organize the schools I wanted to choose from in one place, which then I could easily compare and find the school that was right for me!

Laura Wallace

Laura Wallace

High School Class of 2019

My favorite part of CollegeXpress is that it features student writers so I get an inside perspective from students slightly older and farther along than me. I realize that other college websites also utilize student writers; however, I relate the most to the college writers that I read articles from on CollegeXpress.

Makiyah Murray

Makiyah Murray

High School Class of 2021

The college application process has been a stressful one, but CollegeXpress has eased some of that stress with its readily available college resources. At the beginning of the process, I frequently used the college search feature, and now that I’m almost done applying, I’ve started using the scholarship search. Both of these resources have made it easier to find relevant information.

College Matches