Coronavirus (COVID-19): Physical activity

Being physically active during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak is very important for your physical and mental health.

It can enhance your mood, wellbeing and energy levels by helping to reduce stress, anxiety and depression. Our coronavirus pages have help and advice on how to look after your mental wellbeing.

Keep moving to stay healthy

Any amount of physical activity, however small, is good for you.

Continuing to enjoy local walks, jogs or cycles is a great way to clear your head and stay active.

Remember to observe physical distancing guidance and try to build physical activity into your commute if you're still going out to work.

Staying active during the coronavirus outbreak

There’s a risk of becoming less active as we spend more time at home. It’s important to stay active, sit less and move more for your physical and mental health and wellbeing.

Being active is for everyone, regardless of your age, ability or personal circumstances.

Physical activity at home

There are many activities you could do at home, such as walking up and down stairs, playing, dancing, gardening or taking part in a virtual fitness class.

Try to be active throughout the day.

If you are working from home or just finding yourself sitting more, try breaking up your time spent being inactive by standing and walking around your house every 30 minutes or whenever you're on the phone.

You could also do something active during TV advertising breaks, such as housework or other domestic chores, gardening or do some strength and balance exercises.

It doesn’t matter what you do, as long as it's something you enjoy and keeps you moving.

Paths For All has information available on Keeping active at home or you can watch NHS Fitness videos.

Being active outdoors

If you don't have any coronavirus symptoms, you can go outdoors to be active as much as you like throughout the day.

Walking, jogging or cycling are a great way to be active and get some fresh air and sunlight.

Outdoor non-contact sports such as golf and tennis are permitted for all age groups provided this is within a single household group or the group contains no more than 2 people from 2 different households.

Children under the age of 12 from these households do not count towards this number.

Organised sport and exercise can only take place within a single household group or a group containing no more than 2 people from 2 different households.

Organised sport and exercise for under-12s can continue in line with workplace and socialising guidance, and sport-specific guidance agreed between the Scottish Governing Body of Sport and sportscotland.

To find out more visit sportscotland for specific sport guidance.

Use your own equipment

Where possible do not share equipment, such as clubs, balls or rods, with others. Use your own and ensure appropriate hygiene rules are adhered to at all times.

If you go somewhere and find it crowded, change your plans and go somewhere less busy.

Remember to maintain 2 meter physical distancing and follow strict hygiene guidance. such as washing your hands as soon as you return home.

Make the most of your opportunities to be active outside.

Find the right activity for you

We have guidance for specific groups including; older adults, those with underlying health conditions, children and young people and key workers

Keeping safe while active

If possible, try to choose times and places that are less busy and make sure to follow hygiene guidance, such as; washing your hands as soon as you return home.

Where possible, do not share equipment, such as clubs or balls, with others. Use your own and ensure you clean them after use.

It’s important for your mental and physical health that you stay active.

There are many exercises you can do from home, have a look at our physical activity at home section for some ideas and useful links.

Preparing to go outdoors

Your muscle strength and fitness can decrease if you are less active and spend more time sitting.

If you don’t feel as steady on your feet as you used to, try doing some strength and balance at home, building up your muscle strength, before going outdoors.

It may have been sometime since you were active outdoors, so start slowly, don’t go too far from home and gradually build up how far or fast you go.

If you're over-70 or have underlying health conditions

As we get older our muscle strength and bone health start to decline, so it's important we all do strength and balance exercises.

These exercises helps to build or maintain the healthy bones and muscles that are essential for daily tasks and moving around.

Public Health Scotland has prepared a really useful Up and about booklet (PDF, 5MB) about how to keep active safely, avoid trips and falls and look after your body, including feet and bones.

Or visit Age Scotland's - Staying Active and Wellbeing for information on how to keep well through physical activity.

Children and young people

Activities such as playing, dancing, taking part in a virtual workout or going on a walk, jog or cycle as a family are great ways to improve mood and reduce boredom.

It can also help stimulate learning and bonding with a parent or guardian and child.

Try to be active throughout the day, even if it's just taking a walk around the house.

Children and young people under 12 can take part in organised sport, exercise and play in line with workplace and socialising guidance and sport-specific guidance agreed between the sport's Scottish governing body and sportscotland.

All age groups can take part in non-contact sports, such as golf and tennis, provided this is within a single household group or the group contains no more than 2 people from 2 different households.

Organised sport, exercise and play can only take place within a single household group, or a group containing no more than 2 people from 2 different households.

Relevant sport governing bodies will publish guidance for undertaking their sports activity and are available at sportscotland.

Outdoor play areas can also be used.

Sharing equipment

Where possible do not share equipment, such as racket and ball. Use your own . See our Being active outdoors section for more information. for more information.

Parent Club has advice on keeping active during the coronavirus outbreak. Or visit Change4Life indoor games for children or accessible activities for children.

Get Active at Home has plenty of ideas for young people to stay active at home.

Key workers

Your work can be physically and mentally demanding, so it's important to do something active in your own time.

Continuing to enjoy local walks, jogs or cycles is a great way to clear your head and stay active. You could also try and incorporate some walking or cycling as part of your journey to work.

Remember to observe physical distancing guidance and try to build into your commute.

You can also stay active at home, by walking up and down stairs, dancing, gardening or taking part in a virtual fitness class.

Further information

It doesn’t matter what you do, as long as it's something you enjoy and keeps you moving.

Here are some other online resources:

NHS – Fitness Videos

WHO Be Active During Covid-19

Paths for All Home based exercises

Scottish Disability Sport