Coronavirus (COVID-19): Physical activity

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

It can enhance your mood, wellbeing and energy levels by helping to reduce stress, anxiety and depression. Our coronavirus pages have further 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 short, local walks, jogs or cycles is a great way to clear your head and stay active.

Remember to observe physical distancing guidance and stay local or 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.

Being active is for everyone, however young or old, it’s important to stay active, sit less and move more for your physical and mental health and wellbeing.

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 throughout the day.

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

We have lots of advice available on Keeping active at home or you can watch NHS Fitness videos.

Being active outdoors

If you're not shielding and don't have any coronavirus symptoms, you can go outdoors to exercise more than once a day if you want to.

This counts as an essential reason for being away from your home.

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

Make the most of your opportunities to be active outside.

This doesn't allow you to:

  • mix with people from different households
  • gather in groups
  • go out to relax outdoors.

Maintain physical distancing, stay local, avoid non-essential travel and walk, jog or cycle from your door step.

Activity for everyone

Physical activity is important for everyone, regardless of your age, ability or personal circumstances.

It’s too easy to spend too much time sitting in front of a screen, of one kind or another, while staying at home. Inactivity can have a negative effect on your overall health and wellbeing.

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 its just taking a walk around the house.

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.

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

Due to the coronavirus outbreak you may be shielding and unable to go outside to exercise. As you're spending more time at home, there’s a risk of becoming less active.

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.

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

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 short, 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 stay local or 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: