Physical Activity and COVID-19 FAQs
The current COVID-19 pandemic may have impacted your physical activity routine with the closure of fitness and community facilities, malls, and public spaces. Physical activity can be an important strategy for staying healthy, both mentally and physically, during the pandemic.
Frequently Asked Questions
How much activity should I be striving for?
The Canadian Physical Activity guidelines state that Canadian adults and older adults should be striving for 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity each week. But you can break this down into smaller pieces such as 15 bouts of 10 minutes or 5 bouts of 30 minutes. Remember that some activity is better than no activity. If you aren’t able to achieve the full 150 minutes then do what you can.
For children and youth, the recommendations state they should try to reach 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity each day.
What are some strategies to be active during this time?
The great thing about physical activity is that you can find ways to be active pretty much anywhere with a bit of creativity.
- Put on some music and walk/move briskly through your house. If balance isn’t an issue, use your stairs for an additional challenge. Do this in bouts of 10 minutes, two to three times per day.
- Have your own dance party. Crank up the music and turn your living room into a dance floor!
- Do some light stretching, starting with some head/neck stretches and work your way down to your feet.
- If you have access to weights or some resistance bands, do some reps throughout the day or even while watching TV.
- If you do not have access to weights or resistance bands at home, try using household items as replacements. Text books, jugs of water, vinegar, laundry detergent, cans of soup or beans, bags of pet food, potatoes, or apples, etc. are all creative methods to use as weights and to remain active. Make sure the items you are using are safe alternatives.
- Use an exercise DVD or an app on your phone.
- Invite everyone in your household to participate and have some fun staying active.
- Check out some of the many fitness classes now available online, for example, go! Live@Home is offering a series of free live physical activity sessions that you can join from the comfort of your home.
Remember, if you haven’t been very active lately, start slow and build your minutes up over time. Don’t try to do too much, too quickly.
Should I go outdoors for activity during the COVID-19 pandemic?
Getting outside is a great way to change the scenery, breathe in some fresh air, and limit the time you spend in front of screens.
If you are under self-isolation requirements, you must remain on your property for fresh air, or your apartment building’s property.
Tips to staying active outdoors and limiting contact with others:
- Make sure you keep a 2 meter buffer between you and others who are out and about;
- Avoid heavy traffic trails and boardwalks where maintaining the distance between you and others can be challenging;
- Stay away from busy sidewalks, parks or trails and focus more on a quiet neighborhood street, your own driveway, yard or natural spaces;
- Try to go outside earlier in the morning or later in the day when there will be a smaller chance of meeting others;
- If your usual walking route is often busy and filled with other people, consider a different route;
- When using outdoor gym equipment or park structures, follow Outdoor Recreation Spaces Guidance;
- If you run into people you know, maintain physical distance. Do not form as a group to chat with individuals from other households.
What are some of the benefits of adding physical activity to my daily schedule?
Physical activity can reduce the risk of acquiring a number of chronic diseases, it can help us get a better night sleep, and it is linked with lower levels of anxiety and perceived stress.
During the COVID-19 pandemic it can be a good distraction from the news coverage and social media, while giving us a bit of fresh air and time outdoors.
Other tips to stay well
Here are some recommendations to stay well overall:
Take care of your mental health
Keeping emotionally well will help you to think clearly and react to urgent needs to protect yourself and your loved ones.
Continue to make good food choices by eating a variety of foods each day.
Drink alcohol responsibly
Drinking alcohol is a personal choice. If you are aged 25 to 65 and choose to drink, Canada's low-risk drinking guidelines will help you figure out your limits. Learn more at www.shouldihaveanother.ca
Stay Connected with Others
Yes, it may be impossible to stay connected with your family and friends as you typically would while self-isolating or practicing physical distancing. Yet, individuals and communities are responding and finding new ways to keep in touch by chatting and sharing on social media, making regular calls by telephone to check in with one another, and dropping care packages and essential supplies at door steps.
The Government of PEI has developed the Islanders Helping Islanders Volunteer Services Directory to ensure that our most vulnerable residents and neighbours get the help they need, when needed during this time.