Coronavirus Updates & Hospital Visitor Policy

Staying Active While Under Self-Quarantine During the Coronavirus Pandemic

woman in quarantine looking out window

By: Kathleen Choate, ATC, CSCS, CEAS
Athletic Trainer
MUSC Health Sports Medicine

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, I am self-quarantining at home. While I don’t feel sick, I understand that it is my personal duty to reduce my exposure to others as much as possible in order to “flatten the curve.” As an Athletic Trainer, I’m used to being in close contact with others and being outside on the sidelines of athletic competitions almost every evening. One thing I fear from being home bound for a long period of time is becoming dependent on cable TV, Netflix, and Disney+ to help pass the time. Two or more weeks without a change in scenery is a long time!

That being said, I’m committed to staying physically active and improving my physical fitness during this time! I’ve found inspiration from citizens of other countries who are quarantined. One video that stuck out to me was the Fitness Instructor in Spain who led a workout class from the roof of his building. Why is working out during the quarantine such a great idea? Some benefits of physical activity include reduced body fat, increased respiratory capacity, increased bone mass, and improved cardiovascular function.

In the past few days since most individuals in the US have started self-quarantine, I have seen many companies and personal trainers teaching free work-outs through Facebook Live and free access to fitness apps. There is no shortage of options to get fit while isolated. This is a great opportunity to try some new work-out methods and see what works for you!

I would like to jump on the band wagon and include a work-out that can be done from home. HIIT is one of my favorite work-out methods. HIIT stands for High Intensity Interval Training. There are several versions of HIIT, but using a timing interval with a work:rest ratio of 2:1 is the simplest. For example, this could be 20 seconds of an activity followed by 10 seconds of rest. If you want to make it harder, use intervals of 40 seconds of activity followed by 20 seconds of rest. As easy as this looks on paper, I guarantee your heart rate will be high and you’ll need a towel for all that sweat! For people that are used to depending on a treadmill or elliptical at the gym to get their cardio in, this workout could help maintain if not improve upon your cardiovascular fitness!

Example HIIT Workout

Warm up:

  • Jumping jacks
  • High knees in place
  • Butt kicks in place

Work out:

  • Squats
  • Front planks
  • Bent over row with dumbbells
  • Lunges
  • Mountain climbers
  • Burpees
  • Lateral raise with dumbbells
  • Triceps dips

Cool down/static stretches:

  • Chest/pectoralis stretch in a doorway
  • Standing quadriceps stretch
  • Kneeling hip flexor stretch
  • Hamstring Stretch in a pike position

Remember that these exercises can be switched with different ones or modified to be easier or harder based on your fitness levels. If you don’t have dumbbells at home, try using soup cans or water bottles. As far as keeping track of the 2:1 interval, either use a stopwatch or download an interval timer app onto your phone. To avoid injury, please only do the exercises above that you can complete safely, without pain, and with good technique. I hope that you are able to stay healthy and fit during this trying time. While we may be isolated physically, we are all in this together!