Tips for Exercising While Social Distancing - Genesis Health System

Published on April 07, 2020

Mother and daughter running outside

Tips for Exercising While Social Distancing

By Scott Dickman, PT, MPT, MA, OCS, CSCS
Genesis Sports Medicine

During these challenging times of social distancing and altered schedules, it can be difficult to keep to our routines.  One activity that is important to keep on your schedule is exercise. Exercising outside with your family is a great option but be sure to avoid crowded areas and continue to practice social distancing of at least six feet. 

From weight loss, to circulation and strength, to boosting your immunity, and improved brain health and memory, the benefits of exercise are many.  Plus, it can make you feel happier. 

Try to make exercise a part of your regular routine. Set a reminder so you don't forget.  And then commit.  Science tells us it takes about two months to form a habit, so stick with it.  Don't feel discouraged if you miss a workout, just make sure you get back into it the following day.  A good goal is exercising 5-6 days per week.

If you don’t know where to start, try this simple circuit workout.

Choose the exercises according to your ability level:

  • Pick a type of aerobic exercise: such as walking, jogging or marching in place.
  • Choose up to five strength exercises - see my suggestions below.
  • Do your aerobic exercise for 5-10 minutes, depending on your ability, then do the strength exercises.
  • Repeat about three times for one complete workout.
  • Always end your workout with gentle stretching. 

Exercise should be moderately strenuous to elevate your heart rate and breathing.  Generally speaking, breathing should be labored but you should still be able to carry on a conversation.  

Stop if you experience aches or pains, or if something just doesn't feel right.  



1.  Squats - Stand holding onto the kitchen sink for support.  With feet shoulder width apart, bend your knees and lower your body towards the floor. Your body weight should mostly be directed through the heels of your feet. Return to a standing position. Knees should bend in line with the 2nd toe and not pass the front of the foot.  Repeat 10-15 times as tolerated.

 overhead press

2.  Overhead press (single arm) - Stand holding a weight up near the upper part of your shoulder with elbow bent.  Next, push the weight up and over head extending your elbow. Lower back down to near the upper part of your shoulder and repeat.  Do all repetitions on one arm and then repeat on the other.  Perform 10-15 times as tolerated.


3.  Lunge - Start by standing with feet shoulder-width-apart. Next, take a large step forward and allow your front knee to bend. Allow your back knee to bend as well until it touches the floor or comes close to touching the floor.  Then, push off your forward leg and return to original position. Then perform on the other side. Repeat this alternating sides.  Keep your pelvis level and straight the entire time.  Your front knee should bend in line with the 2nd toe and not pass the front of the foot.  Repeat 10-15 times on each leg as tolerated.

 push up

4.  Push-ups - While lying face down, place your hands on the floor slightly wider than shoulder width.   Use your arms and push yourself up.  Keep your toes in contact with the floor and maintain a straight back the entire time.  Modified push-ups can be done with the knees on the floor instead of the toes.  Repeat 10-15 times as tolerated.


5.  Planks - While lying face down, lift your body up on your elbows and toes. Try and maintain a straight spine. Do not allow your hips or pelvis on either side to drop. Maintain pelvic neutral position the entire time.  Hold 10-20 seconds, rest 10 seconds and repeat three times. 

 bicep curls

6.   Bicep Curls - With your arm at your side, draw up your hand by bending at the elbow.  Keep your palm face up the entire time.  Hold onto weights as appropriate.  Repeat 10-15 times on each side. 

 Bent over row

7.  Bent Over Row - While standing, bend over and support your self with one arm. With your other arm starting at your side, draw up your arm as you bend your elbow.  Hold onto weight as appropriate.  Repeat 10-15 times on each side.

Staying Safe While Exercising Outside

Remember to continue to maintain a physical distance of at least 6 feet while both inside and outside.

Please help keep our community safe:

  • Stay 6 feet apart from one another when spending time outside.
  • Do not play on area playgrounds.
  • Do not gather in picnic and shelter areas.
  • Do not gather for pick-up games of basketball, baseball or other sports that involve contact of groups of people.
  • DO find ways to be outside that allow you to stay apart from one another while still enjoying the benefits of the outdoor.

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