Working out at home: how to keep healthy and fit during lockdown

    Last update:

    Due to the coronavirus measures, we cannot do the sports we used to do for the time being. But even though we are stuck at home it is important to remain physically active. Sedentary behaviour is bad for our physical and mental health, so staying active during this difficult time is something we should all strive for. The good news is that there are many possibilities to be active during lockdown. With a few creative adjustments, you’ll get through this coronavirus crisis feeling fit and healthy!

    The risks of sedentary behaviour

    People across Europe are confined to their homes and many outdoor sports activities have been banned to curb the spread of the coronavirus. As a result, we don’t cycle or walk as much as we’d like to. With all this free time on our hands, it can be difficult to resist the temptation to reach for sugary snacks.

    Physical inactivity, or sedentary behaviour, has negative health consequences. For example, long-term sedentary behaviour increases the risk of thrombosis and weakens the immune system. When you are less physically active, you also burn off fewer calories per day which can lead to weight gain. And if you have also gotten into the habit of snacking and grazing through the day, then there’s no stopping those lockdown pounds from creeping on.

    Why preventing lockdown weight gain is important

    Obesity is a significant risk factor for a range of health issues. People who are overweight or obese tend to have high blood pressure and high cholesterol. This increases the risk of heart and vascular disease. Weight gain is also associated with an increased risk of developing certain types of cancer and diabetes. Furthermore, reduced fertility (in both men and women!) and menstrual problems are connected to weight gain, as well as heartburn and various rheumatic disorders.

    Obesity-related conditions also seem to worsen the effect of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. In fact, the majority of patients in intensive care with COVID-19 are overweight or obese. That’s another reason why you want to avoid gaining weight!

    Why is exercise important?

    Exercise has many benefits, not only for weight control and your physical health, but also for your mental health. Exercise releases chemicals like endorphins and serotonin that improve your mood. Research has shown that if you exercise regularly, it can help with sleeping difficulties and reduce symptoms of mental health conditions like depression. In these stressful and uncertain times, we could all do with that!

    Sitting at home doing nothing is not a good idea! The best way to avoid health problems is to stay physically active. So, dust off your sneakers and get moving!

    Staying active during lockdown

    Getting enough exercise during lockdown may sound more difficult than it is. You don’t necessarily need a gym, tennis court or hockey club to be physically active. In fact, you do not even need to leave the house. Home workouts are a great alternative. There are plenty of ways in which you can be active indoors, even if you don’t have much space. These tips will help you start an exercise routine today.

    At-home mat workout

    Push-ups, crunches, squats… any exercise that is done on a mat in the gym can be easily done at home. There are plenty of sports apps and online exercises for toning your arms, legs and bottom. Would you rather take it more slowly? Then try doing yoga at home. The upward salute, downward-facing dog or hunting dog pose… a more flexible body and a peaceful mind can make lockdown living a lot easier.

    At-home stair workout

    Climbing stairs is one of the best exercises when it comes to calorie burning. Simply going up to the attic a few times quickly increases your heart rate and in doing so can greatly improve your cardiovascular fitness and endurance. Want to step up your daily exercise? There are loads of high-intensity stair-climbing workouts online. Just be careful not to fall. If you live in an apartment building, you can use the communal staircase. If you haven’t got a staircase at home or in your building, look for exercises you can do using a step or a stool. You can find plenty of so-called ‘steps workouts’ on YouTube.

    At-home workout with kids

    It’s also important to keep children physically active during lockdown. The good news is there are many possibilities to be active together, even indoors! Why not dig out that old skipping rope from the garage? Jumping rope burns around 200 calories in just 15 minutes! Or what about a simple game of tag or throwing and catching a ball in the garden? Or put a video or the radio on to have a dance – it doesn’t matter what you do as long as you do something.

    All movement counts as an at-home workout

    Not into sports? That’s OK. Any activity that gets the heart pumping and has you working up a sweat is probably ticking the right boxes. So domestic activities such as cleaning, vacuuming, dusting and mopping also count as a workout. Or get out in the garden and do some weeding. Or walk the dog or clean the windows. All movement is good, as long as you don’t sit around twiddling your thumbs wondering what to do!

    Tips to help you stick with your home workout programme

    When you’re working from home or self-isolating, finding the motivation to stick to your exercise routine can be tough. These tips will make it easier for you to stay engaged.

    • Make a workout schedule. Make a workout schedule and put it somewhere you can see it every day.
    • Tick the days off as you go and reward yourself after each workout. Not with a candy bar, but with an extra hour of Netflix, a hot bath or something else you enjoy doing. This will make it easier to stick to your schedule.
    • Mix up your workout routine. Doing the same exercises every day will get boring fairly quickly. Make your routine more exciting by incorporating some new activities, such as cycling, a long walk or a domestic activity.

    Avoiding weight gain during lockdown

    Working out at home is a good way to stay fit. But if you want to lose weight or keep yourself from gaining weight, it’s equally important to eat healthily. Here are some tips to keep your weight under control during lockdown:

    • Eat at set times. Don’t skip breakfast or lunch. Eating three meals a day will also help you stop snacking in between meals.
    • Move unhealthy snacks to the back of cupboards or the refrigerator. Move healthier snacks or veggies in front of them.
    • Make sure your diet contains plenty of fibre. Fibre-rich foods such as vegetables, fruit, legumes and wholegrain products make you feel full for longer and stimulate bowel movement.
    • Drink plenty of water. Water fills the stomach and flushes out toxins.

    Are you overweight and having a hard time adjusting your lifestyle? Weight loss products, such as appetite suppressants, can make it easier to follow a new diet regimen.

    Healthy and fit during lockdown

    Eating well also helps to keep your immune system healthy and strong. And a strong immune system is the most important weapon we have in the battle against the coronavirus! So, in addition to eating healthily and working out at home, it’s also important to follow all general guidelines to prevent the spread of the virus. Stay at home if you feel ill or have respiratory issues, maintain at least 1.5 metres distance between yourself and others, wash your hands regularly and sneeze or cough into your elbow.

    About is a platform for connecting patients with doctors and pharmacies, enabling targeted treatment and care. believes in responsible self-management of treatable health conditions.

    Sources (2020, 8 April). How do you stay active when working from home? Consulted on 18 April 2020 on

    De Nederlandse Hartstichting. (n.d.). Read all about weight gain. Consulted on 18 April 2020 on

    Nederlandse Obesitas Kliniek. (2018, 1 March). Everything you need to know about obesity. Read more| NOK. Consulted on 18 April 2020 on (2017, 3 October). “An hour of exercise a week can help prevent depression”. Consulted on 18 April 2020 on

    van Balen, E. (2020, 18 March). Ways to stay fit during coronavirus quarantine. Consulted on 18 April 2020 on

    Voedingscentrum. (n.d.). How to eat healthily and keep exercising while working from home due to coronavirus? Consulted on 18 April 2020 on (2017, 12 February). 7 tips to make working out at home more attractive. Consulted on 18 April 2020 on

    Back to top