How to stay active during pandemic season

If you’ve been living under a rock, stay there! Washington State has administered social-distancing protections in order to combat the spread of COVID-19. Staying indoors is not only a preventative measure which will save lives, but it’s also an imposition on our daily lives. Though in my eyes, the second greatest threat behind coronavirus is actually cabin fever; quarantine is the motherload of excuses for inactivity. As heroic as our inactions are, this is a reminder that never before has our generation had so much free time at home. So, here’s a full-body workout, no gym necessary. Once this pandemic blows over, you’ll have a stronger, healthier body to survive the post-apocalypse.

Stretching is the cornerstone of all good workout regimens. For the purpose of this workout, you will start by going through some static (immobile) stretches. YouTube is a handy resource for all things fitness, but does not suffice for a certified personal trainer like myself. If your mental index of stretches is lacking, I recommend that you do some independent research until you have one static stretch for each prominent muscle group. For the more advanced, dynamic stretching is a more desirable method. However, foam rolling is a method of stretching that is applicable to anyone regardless of fitness. A foam-roller is the surest way to stretch your dollar. By the time we begin the workout, it’s ideal that you will have stretched your calves, hamstrings, quads, glutes, abdomen, lumbar, erector spinae, shoulders, biceps and triceps. During these stretches, observe your breathing and take note of any pains of discomforts. Problematic areas should be examined by a medical professional before subjected to any strenuous activity.

We’re going to want to get you moving before anything dynamic happens. A resting heart rate doesn’t want to be hurtled into a crucible, neither do your joints or muscles. Exercises can be altered to suit your needs.


  • 5 MIN: Although it’s not advisable to walk around outside, simple cardio exercise is a necessity. What you want are exercises where you’re picking up your feet, e.g. jumping jacks, shadow boxing, jogging-in-place. At my apartment complex, there are four flights of stairs. Now more than ever, stairs are our friend.
  • 5 MIN: Now that you are breathing a little heavier, we’re going to focus on your core strength. By frontloading our core exercise, full-body movements are going to rely on a tired but activated core. At the end of the workout, these five minutes of core should feel more like 15 minutes. What I recommend: pairing one lower abdomen exercise (e.g. flutter kicks, mountain climbers, seated leg tucks, etc.) with an upper/full abdomen exercise (e.g. front/side planks, wall-sits, sit-ups or crunches). Find a comfortable baseline for each exercise, and alternate back-on-forth until you’re ready to continue.


  • Calf raises: don’t go overboard! Our calves rarely get isolated when we exercise, which is why quarantine is going to reinvigorate those baby cows. Find a surface about two inches off the ground, one that you can stand on with the balls of your feet. A curb works wonders. Now, sink your heels slowly until you’re reaching the bottom of your range of motion. Only with your calves, drive upwards until you’re on your tippy toes. Repeat 8 – 20 repetitions at a steady pace for no more than two to three sets. Focus on your pace, and do not be afraid to call it quits. At the end of the day, we still want you to be walking.
  • Squat movements: the squat is the quintessential lower body exercise. Use a mirror head-on to watch for knee-inversions and adjust your feet accordingly. The squat is a difficult movement to master, but it’s worth your time. Fill your backpack with books if desired and start working on your squat form. Listen to your body. The squat engages your calves, quads, glutes, abdomen, lumbar, and erector spinae, among other minor groups. For this workout, you should do 6 to 12 repetitions for no more than four sets. Lunges are a variation of the two-legged squat, focusing on balance and single-leg strength, as well as ankle/knee/hip stability. Lunges are a significant exercise which serve as a more advanced alternative to the squat. Bulgarian split-squats can be utilized in this same fashion.
  • Upper body: not everyone is equipped for push-ups, but if so, drill them. The chest press movement is arguably as important as the squat. If strict push-ups are not an option, you can try setting down your knees. Still not an option? Try leaning at a 60-degree angle against a desk or countertop, and see what mobility is possible for push-ups. A gallon-sized water container will suffice for dumbbells so that we can do some bicep curls. A gallon container will also enable you to do overhead tricep extensions. Try a super-set of all three exercises and repeat as desired. If any elbow pain is detected, try a chest-press on your back. The ground will stabilize the whole posterior. If this doesn’t help, avoid elbow-intensive movements for the time being.


  • Now that you’ve accomplished the bulk of the exercise for the day, it’s important not to cut corners. For your benefit, make sure to complete a quick cool-down as well as another stretching session. The deload portion of the workout will ensure that no damage has been sustained, and the final stretching session will continue to improve your range of motion, flexibility, and injury-prevention.
  • For the cool-down, take a walk around your living space. If it’s cramped like mine, a bike ride is a good way to get fresh air while not falling inert. Without stretching, you are much more likely to be afflicted by D.O.M.S., or delayed onset muscle soreness. This will keep you bed-ridden for two or three days, trust me, I know. To avoid this, make sure to stretch!