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How to stay active while you are at home

You may be at home and feeling well enough to keep active – moving, stretching, balancing.  It is important to remind everyone that a major part of keeping healthy includes maintaining muscle strength, balance and flexibility. Here are some tips on how to stay active at home including: chair based exercise, strength and balance exercise and aerobics.

Physical activity guidelines for adults aged 19 to 64.  Adults should:

  • aim to be physically active every day. Any activity is better than none, and more is better still
  • reduce time spent sitting or lying down and break up long periods of not moving with some activity.
  • do strengthening activities that work all the major muscles (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders and arms) on at least 2 days a week
  • do vigorous activity for over 60 minutes a week

Chair based exercise

Chair based or sitting exercises help improve your mobility and prevent fallsWear loose clothes and use a stable chair without wheels. Try to do flexibility, balance and strength exercises at least twice a week and increase the repetitions when you feel able to. For strength exercises use small weights or bottles filled with water that you can grip.

Exercises include: chest stretch, upper body twist, hip marching, neck rotation and neck stretching, sit to stand, mini squats and calf stretches and bicep curls.  Use this NHS link for pictures

You can also do seated yoga exercises to release tension in your limbs. Perform each move slowly and smoothly, and breathe deeply and regularly.

Back exercises are important to help reduce lower back pain, including tension, stiffness and soreness.

Exercises to try at home

  • chair tricep dips sit on the edge of a chair holding onto the front with your hands. Place your feet out in front of you (bent legs for easier option or straight legs to make it harder) and lower your elbows to a 90-degree angle before pushing back up.
  • table top press ups incline press ups can be done anywhere around the home – on a table, a bed, a chair or even a wall. To use a table, place your hands on the table with your legs stretched out behind you, body nice and straight. Lower your weight down keeping your elbows tight to your body, and press back up.
  • living room wall sits find a wall with a big enough space for you to lean on. Sit against the wall like you would in a chair with your legs at 90 degrees, and hold. Give it time and you’ll soon feel the burn!
  • milk bottle Russian twists sit on the floor holding a milk bottle (or any bottle with liquid in). Lean back with a straight back and engage your core. Rotate your torso and try to touch the floor each side with the milk bottle. Make it harder by lifting your feet off the floor.

Gym style work outs at home

If you can get out into your garden to exercise or have a free space, here are some gym workouts to strengthen and increase aerobic activity such as:

Online home workouts

There are a number of websites with online home workouts that you can watch and do whenever you want, some for free or with a free trial. For example:

  • Fitness Blender has over 500 free workout videos
  • Les Mills has a 14-day free trial that gives you access to over 800 online workouts
  • Nike training club  offers 185 free workouts at varying different skill levels. And, the workouts come in different categories to suit your exercise preferences and goals, such as strength, endurance and even mobility training.

Outdoor exercise


Walking is one of the easiest ways to get active. Whether you’re walking to work, stepping out at lunchtime, walking to the shops or local park or taking the dog for a walk, brisk walking can be simple to fit into your everyday life.

A brisk ten minute walk can make a huge difference to your health; it gets the heart pumping faster, can make you feel better, more energetic and improve your mood. Over time, brisk walking can help to lower the risk of serious illnesses like heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Read the Walking and health article.


You can download the free Active 10 app from One You, which shows how much brisk walking you’re doing, where you can increase your pace and fit more into your day

Sustrans has created a map of cycles for key workers and British Cycling Let’s Ride has tips and routes for you to consider.

With thanks to Sport England, Active Newcastle and This Girl Can.

Links to useful information and organisations

We are Undefeatable support people with long term or chronic conditions to keep active and healthy.

Join the Movement by Sport England with ideas on how to stay active during the coronavirus outbreak

10 Today includes short ten minute routines to get you stretching and moving.

Public Health England has produced a booklet called Active at Home to support older people and those who are shielded.

Last updated: July 21, 2021