No gym? No problem: Maintaining an at-home fitness routine during COVID-19

May 07, 2021
7 min read


While gyms and recreation centers may be closed for now, that doesn’t mean you can’t – or shouldn’t – get in a good workout. Sticking to a fitness routine will not only benefit you physically, it will also help to keep you mentally focused and your mood elevated.

Try these simple exercise tips to help you stay on track while we all work to social distance from home.

Cardio basics

Walking or running in place is a great cardio exercise to do while you’re watching TV or listening to music. To burn extra calories, try pumping your arms while breathing in and out through your nose. With any cardio exercise, adding in arm movements will help to get your heart rate up, improve cardiovascular health, and improve circulation and range of motion in your upper body.

Walking or running in place starting to feel too dull for you? Speed things up a bit with kickboxing! Try punching with your right fist while you step (or even jump) your right foot in front of your body and then back to center. Repeat this for one minute before switching to your left side for a minute. Alternate this routine for a total of five minutes for an invigorating start to your day!

Strength training, no equipment needed

You don’t need complicated gym equipment to strength train. You can work your upper and lower body with just body weight exercises. Strength training helps to both build muscle and burn fat. To get the most out of this routine, alternate exercises between upper and lower body and consider using a yoga mat or towel for comfort.

For a full-body toning workout, complete three rounds of these exercises every other day:

  • 10 wide leg squats – With feet slightly wider than shoulder width apart and knees slightly bent, turn toes outward, place hands in front of you and squat until thighs are almost parallel to the floor. Squeeze glutes as you straighten legs to starting position.
  • 10 wide arm push-ups – Similar to a regular push-up, just place your hands on the floor at slightly wider than shoulder width apart.
  • 10 reverse lunges – Stand upright, with your hands on your hips. 1. Take a large step backward with your right foot. Lower your hips until your left thigh (front leg) is parallel to the floor with your left knee positioned directly over your ankle. 2. Use your leg muscles to return to standing upright with hands on hips. 3. Now repeat on the opposite side.
  • 10 triceps dips – Sit on a sturdy bench or chair and grip the front edge. With your feet flat and knees bent at 90 degrees, hover your butt just off and in front of the chair. Now, straighten your arms. Next, lower your body toward the floor until your arms form 90-degree angles. Finally, press back to the start position.
  • 10 toe touches – For traditional toe touches, simply stand with your feet slightly less than shoulder width apart with toes pointing forward. With your legs straight (knees not locked), bend from the hips to touch your toes.

Handy hand weight routine

If you do have hand weights (dumbbells) at home, try this upper body toning routine every other day to sculpt your arms and shoulders. To start, try using three- to seven-pound weights and holding one in each hand.

Repeat these steps for a total of three rounds, gradually increasing the weight if the exercise becomes too easy:

  • 10 biceps curls – Stand with arms fully extended, a weight in each hand, and elbows resting at your sides. Keep knees slightly bent with your belly button draw into the spine. Now, bring weights to your shoulders by bending at the elbows. Slowly lower back to your sides and repeat.
  • 10 bent-over rows – With a weight in each hand, bend your knees slightly and hinge at the hip so your upper body is almost parallel to the floor. Keep your core tight and your back straight as you row the weights up to your chest. Lower and repeat.
  • 10 tricep extensions – Standing with your feet shoulder width apart and a weight in each hand in front of you, raise them above your head until your arms are stretched out straight. Slowly lower the weights back behind your head. Now, bring the weights back to the starting position with upper arms remaining in place throughout the movement.
  • 10 overhead presses – Stand with feet hip-width apart, knees soft and core engaged. Hold a weight in each hand at shoulder height, just outside of shoulders with palms facing forward, and elbows pointing down. Exhale while pressing weights directly overhead (not forward), so wrists stack directly over shoulders and biceps are next to ears. Keep core engaged. Now, reverses the movement so the weights follow the same path to return to starting position.

Get online and get going!

Ready to mix things up a bit? There are tons of different workout videos available online and via streaming services on your living room TV. Simply search for the type of workout you’re looking for to find an instructor and workout that fits your needs. Try using this method if you’re feeling bored with your routine and are looking for more variety.

Until social distancing restrictions are lifted and we can safely return to our gym routines, there are many ways to stay active and healthy. We’re all in this together.

Wellness Newsletter

Want to receive the latest news from Mount Nittany Health? Sign up here!


To our team, you're more than just a number. We see you. And we're committed to you. Our experienced providers are here and ready to get you the care you need.