The lat­est coro­n­avirus, COVID-19, con­tin­ues to be a major source of con­cern. Sports teams have can­celled sea­sons, com­pa­nies are urg­ing employ­ees to work from home and social dis­tanc­ing is in full swing — all of which has anx­i­ety at an all-time high. One way to help calm your nerves: exercise.

“It can help reduce ten­sion and ele­vate mood by releas­ing endor­phins, as well as nor­ep­i­neph­rine, sero­tonin and dopamine,” says Alexan­dra Kreps, MD, a board cer­ti­fied pri­ma­ry care physi­cian and internist at Tru Whole Care in New York City. “It can also work to sta­bi­lize mood and reg­u­late sleep.”

Plus, it’s “a proven strat­e­gy to help improve, strength­en and main­tain a good immune sys­tem,” says Per­cell Dug­ger, a cer­ti­fied strength coach and founder of GOODWRK. Some­thing we can all ben­e­fit from right now.

But with gyms and stu­dios clear­ing out and more folks find­ing them­selves quar­an­tined — either as a pre­cau­tion­ary mea­sure or by doc­tor’s orders — you may feel it’s inevitable that your work­outs will fall by the way­side. To make things more com­pli­cat­ed, you may now be work­ing from home full-time while also tak­ing care of your kids.

For­tu­nate­ly, stay­ing active at home does­n’t have to be com­pli­cat­ed or take a long time. We tapped fit pros for a cou­ple of cre­ative ways to get mov­ing with­out risk­ing your health — or the health of those around you.

1. Dance It Out

Put togeth­er a playlist of your favorite songs — “ones that get your heart pump­ing by just lis­ten­ing and that zap you into your own men­tal music video,” says Ivy Ledon, an instruc­tor at 305 Fit­ness — and dance like no one’s watching.

Not only has cut­ting a rug been shown to improve car­dio­vas­cu­lar health, fight the effects of aging in the brain and improve your bal­ance and sta­bil­i­ty (which can low­er the risk of falling and get­ting injured), it’s also just plain fun!

“Music is a uni­ver­sal lan­guage,” says Ledon, not­ing that 305 Fit­ness cur­rent­ly offers free online dance work­out videos. And if your lit­tle ones are home from school, an impromp­tu dance par­ty keeps them active and enter­tained, while help­ing them expend pent-up energy.

2. Take a Squat Break

Who says you need to be at the gym to drop it like a squat? You can do them pret­ty much any­where. Plus a March 2020 study from the Pro­ceed­ings of the Nation­al Acad­e­my of Sci­ences found that squat­ting, which is a nat­ur­al and func­tion­al move­ment pat­tern, not only offers high­er lev­els of mus­cle activ­i­ty than sit­ting but may also help reduce some of the asso­ci­at­ed health risks (think car­dio­vas­cu­lar dis­ease, dia­betes, obe­si­ty, etc.)

In oth­er words, a squat break may be just what the doc­tor ordered. Try while brush­ing your teeth, says Vic­to­ria Brown, a senior instruc­tor at Soul­Cy­cle. Con­sid­er­ing the Amer­i­can Den­tal Asso­ci­a­tion rec­om­mends brush­ing your teeth for two min­utes twice a day, that’s a nice chunk of time to tar­get every mus­cle in your low­er body, includ­ing your quads, ham­strings and glutes, while you prac­tice good oral hygiene.

3. Strike a Pose

Whether you’re a yogi or not, when anx­i­ety is high, yoga should be a go-to. Here’s why: It’s a proven stress and anx­i­ety buster. All you need is a mat or towel.

Faheem Mujahid, a cer­ti­fied yoga teacher, per­son­al train­er and mind­set coach, sug­gests try­ing the fol­low­ing two pos­es while you’re on lock­down. They get your whole body involved and engaged your entire kinet­ic chain from head to toes, which if you’ve spent mul­ti­ple hours hor­i­zon­tal, is like­ly needed.

Move 1: War­rior I

Why? Strength­ens the legs, opens the hips and chest, and stretch­es the arms and legs

Start with your feet about four feet apart, right in front of left, turn­ing the toes of your back foot out to a 45-degree angle.
Keep­ing the back leg straight, bend your front knee, mak­ing sure it’s stacked over the right ankle. Keep your hips and shoul­ders square to the front.
Reach your arms straight up along­side your ears and bring your palms togeth­er to touch. Gaze up.
Hold for three breaths, then switch sides.

Move 2: Crow Pose

Why? Strength­ens the core, arms, back, wrists and inner thighs.

Stand with feet wider than hip-width apart. Bend your knees and low­er your tor­so between legs.
Place your hands on the floor, scoop in your low­er abs and lift your hips high, plac­ing your knees into your upper arms.
Trans­fer your weight into hands, tip for­ward and slow­ly lift one foot off the floor, fol­lowed by the oth­er, tuck­ing them in towards your butt.
Hold for three breaths.

4. Combine Cooking and Calisthenics

Since you’ll like­ly be spend­ing more time in the kitchen, use that time to do some leg lifts while you’re whip­ping up a healthy meal for your­self and your family.

“By lift­ing your leg either to the side or behind you in an arabesque while you’re cook­ing, you can tone your glutes and out­er thighs in a fun way,” says Rob­bie Ann Dar­by, a cer­ti­fied per­son­al train­er and cre­ator of RAD Experience.

Look­ing for more of a chal­lenge? Dar­by sug­gests adding a mini resis­tance band around your thighs or ankles to inten­si­fy the exer­cise so you real­ly feel the burn.

5. Walk This Way

Whether you’re tak­ing con­fer­ence calls while work­ing from home or Face­Time-ing with your friends, make the deci­sion to simul­ta­ne­ous­ly move your feet. Walk the length of your home, around the kitchen table or even up and down the stairs if you have them.

Research shows it can boost your mood, ener­gy and immune sys­tem. And all you need is at least 20 min­utes. That’s two 10-minute calls or four five-minute calls, which is total­ly doable, and much bet­ter for you than sit­ting on your behind.

6. Get Creative With Furniture

Your house is full of non-tra­di­tion­al work­out equip­ment just wait­ing to be used. Dar­by likes to head to her couch for killer core work. Her move of choice: V‑sits. “When you do this exer­cise on the couch, which is cushy and there­fore unsta­ble, you get an extra burn.” It’s a great way to make your Insta­gram scrolling ses­sions more productive.

Move 1: V‑Sits

Lie on your back on the couch with legs and arms extended.
Simul­ta­ne­ous­ly lift your tor­so and legs, bring­ing your hands and feet to touch. Hold.
Slow­ly low­er back down to the start and repeat.
Aim for 3 sets of 10 to 15.

Anoth­er go-to for Dar­by: barstool (or chair) push-ups and dips. “Upper-body work using a place where you usu­al­ly rest your low­er body nev­er felt so good,” Dar­by says.

Move 2: Incline Push-Ups

Get into a high plank with your hands rest­ing on a barstool or chair. Hands should be slight­ly wider than your shoulders.
Engage your abs and low­er down until your chest near­ly touch­es the stool. Hold.
Push back to the start.
Try to knock out as many as you can in 45 seconds.

Move 3: Dips

Posi­tion your­self between two barstools — a hand on each one — or at the edge of a chair, hands posi­tioned behind you.
Low­er your hips between the stools, so that legs are bent and thighs are par­al­lel to the floor; arms should be straight.
Bend your elbows and low­er your body toward the floor until your arms form 90-degree angles.
Push back up to start and con­tin­ue for 45 seconds.

7. Crush Calories With Chores

Being con­fined to your home gives you the oppor­tu­ni­ty to turn mun­dane tasks into exer­cise oppor­tu­ni­ties. “Try moun­tain climbers, dri­ving your knees up, while hold­ing a plank posi­tion with dust rags under the balls of your feet or split lunges while you vac­u­um,” Brown says.

Move 1: Moun­tain Climbers

Press up into a high plank posi­tion like you’re about to do a push-up, with hands beneath the shoul­ders and your body in a straight line from head to heels.
Bring your right knee into your chest, engag­ing your abs at the same time.
Return your right knee to start­ing position.
Bring your left knee into your chest, then shoot it back, switch­ing legs at your desired pace.

Or if you’re tired of watch­ing those dirty clothes pile up and need to do a load of laun­dry or two, con­sid­er a round of biceps curls with the laun­dry deter­gent. “Try dif­fer­ent angles,” Brown says. “Down the cen­ter, hinge at your hips and curl toward your oppo­site shoul­der, then stand tall and curl out to the side.” You arms will thank you.

Move 2: Biceps Curls

Stand and hold weights in each hand, palms fac­ing up and about shoul­der-width apart.
Keep­ing your elbows glued to your sides and your chest upright, raise the weights up toward your shoul­ders. At the top of the motion, focus on flex­ing your biceps.
Slow­ly low­er the weights until your elbows extend ful­ly at the bot­tom with­out locking.

If you’re feel­ing extra ambi­tious and have decid­ed to not only wipe down your shelves but also final­ly col­or coor­di­nate your books, use this as a moment to work your core. “Fill up a week­ender bag with books and do Russ­ian twists on your car­pet or yoga mat,” Brown says.

Move 3: Russ­ian Twists

Sit down on the floor with your knees bent.
Keep your abs con­tract­ed and twist your tor­so to the right, bring­ing your arms out to the right as well.
Rotate back through cen­ter, then twist to the left.

8. Take a TV Break

There’s like­ly to be a lot of tele­vi­sion watch­ing over the next few weeks. Each time a com­mer­cial comes on, Dug­ger sug­gests pick­ing a few exer­cis­es — sit-ups, planks, push-ups, lunges, etc. — and doing 20 sec­onds on and 20 sec­onds off until your show starts up again.

More of a Net­flix-and-chill type? Either work out dur­ing the show or tell your­self you’ll do a dumb­bell com­plex in between episodes. That involves per­form­ing a series of move­ments that com­ple­ment each oth­er back-to-back in a cir­cuit with­out putting the weight down, Dug­ger says. Try this one:

5 bent-over rows
5 Roman­ian deadlifts
5 cleans
5 stand­ing presses
Do 5 rounds total

Move 1: Bent-Over Rows

Stand with your feet hip-width apart, a slight bend in knees, and a dumb­bell in each hand, palms fac­ing in.
Hinge at hips and low­er your tor­so slight­ly, allow­ing your arms to hang down.
Keep­ing back flat, squeeze your shoul­der blades and bend your elbows, pulling weights up to the sides of your ribs.
Slow­ly low­er arms back to the start.

Move 2: Roman­ian Deadlifts

Stand with your feet hip-width apart with a slight bend in your knees, hold­ing a dumb­bell in each hand out in front of you.
Hinge at your hips, push­ing your butt back as you low­er the dumb­bells down.
Squeeze your glutes, ham­strings and core, dri­ving your feet into the ground to rise back to standing.

Move 3: Cleans

Stand with your feet shoul­der-width apart in a slight squat, hold­ing a dumb­bell in each hand at sides, palms fac­ing in.
Dri­ving through your heels, explode up and flip your wrists so they face for­ward, bring­ing the weights to your shoulders.
Straight­en your legs to stand tall.
Pause, then low­er weights to your sides to return to the start.

Move 4: Stand­ing Presses

Stand with your feet shoul­der-width apart, a dumb­bell in each hand, arms bent slight­ly, hands slight­ly wider than shoul­ders, palms fac­ing your body.
Press the weights straight up, twist­ing them so your palms face for­ward at the top.
Reverse motion to return to start.

No weights? No wor­ries. Dug­ger says you can use filled gal­lon water jugs, soup cans, heavy books or bags filled with things from your cab­i­net or even fruit (think apples or oranges).

By Roza­lynn S. Fra­zier, CPT

Orig­i­nal­ly post­ed on livestrong.com