LiveSmart: Staying Fit While Staying Home During the COVID-19 Pandemic

[This article was written by Darin Rafferty, MSS, CSCS, NASM-CPT, director of wellness at the Lifestyle Wellness Center, Sunnyview Rehabilitation Hospital.]

Studies show that regular exercise is important for both physical and mental well-being. It strengthens your body and immune system and can help alleviate stress and depression.

The COVID-19 pandemic and the need for social distancing has forced wellness centers and gyms to temporarily close, throwing a wrench into many exercise routines. But, now more than ever, it’s important to keep physically and emotionally healthy by making exercise a part of your day.

Here are some tips to help you stay fit during COVID-19.

Set Personal Daily Exercise Goals
Maintaining a consistent sleep pattern and exercising at the same time each day can improve your workout. Recording your workouts using either an online app or journal will keep you on track. Before starting a new exercise program, make sure to talk with your physician.

Let’s Get Started
Begin your routine with a low to moderate 10- to 15- minute warmup. This may include using a stationary bike or taking a walk. Next, stretch all your major muscle groups starting at the top of your head and work your way down to your toes, holding each stretch (without bouncing) for 10 to 20 seconds.

Add Strength Training Exercises into Your Routine
If you don’t have free weights and/or resistance bands, you can use common household items. For example, an eight-ounce water bottle weighs approximately one-and-a-half pounds, so you can use one in each hand for some lighter weight arm workouts. Soup cans are slightly lighter, but can make great light weights, too.

Bodyweight exercises such as push-ups, pull-ups, lunges and squats also help build strength, but it’s important to do them correctly. There are many internet sites that you can reference; google “work out safely” for some suggestions.

Don’t Forget About Balance
Balance exercises are extremely important, especially for seniors. Here’s just one example: start by standing and alternating from heel-to-toe for 15 to 30 seconds (hold on to something stable for safety, if needed) and progress to walking heel-to-toe on a straight line.

Located at Sunnyview Rehabilitation Hospital in Schenectady, the Lifestyle Wellness Center is a comprehensive fitness center for people of all ages. Although the center is temporarily closed due to COVID-19, membership is generally available to the community on a subscription basis.

Certified personal trainers assess clients for their fitness levels and design an individualized program to help improve physical strength, endurance and energy. In addition, the center offers specialized programs for fall prevention and balance, pulmonary wellness, joint wellness, and osteoporosis one-on-one personal training, group exercise classes, a pulmonary group and a geriatric fitness class. For more information about Sunnyview’s Lifestyle Wellness Center, call 518-386-3656, or visit

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