The At-Home Body Balance Fitness Guide

At Home Fitness Guide

Like never before, Americans and others throughout the world are being asked to do something that not many of us like to do: STAY HOME AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE.  According to the New York Times, “at least 200 million people in 21 states, 47 counties, and 14 cities are being urged to stay home.” For many of us who like to go to the gym, or get out and exercise, the fever that we’re most afraid of getting is cabin fever. For those who are older or have health complications, staying at home may not be good because it is decreasing their physical exercise and putting them at a higher risk of illness.

The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) has declared that “There is strong scientific evidence that says frequent moderate- to vigorous-intensity exercise during the week plays a significant preventative role in cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity and some cancers.” Regular exercise is something we all need to be doing 30 mins a day, 5 days a week.  If you are worried that you won’t get sufficient exercise without the gym, never fear! Follow these tips and the exercises in our At-Home Fitness Guide and you will be able to get the activity that you need.

Enjoy Nature

The “stay at home” recommendation mostly limits going to public places. “People can generally still leave their homes for necessities — to go to the grocery store, to go to the doctor and to get fresh air.”1 Now that spring has sprung, this is a great opportunity to go outside.  You need to keep a distance of 6 feet from the next person. For many walking paths, sidewalks, hikes or trails, that is not a problem! Take a family member with you for safety or even just for company.  Get your bike out of the garage and pump up the tires. Get your jogging or walking shoes on. Do that hike that you’ve been wanting to do all winter long (Check out the AllTrails app from the AppStore or Google Play). Get outside!

Body Weight Exercises

No equipment? No problem! You can get a great cardio workout without any weights, tubing, cables or treadmills. Challenge your slow twitch muscle fibers and develop your tone by performing high repetition exercises or long hold exercises. How long can you do a wall sit? How long can you plank on your elbows and knees or elbows and toes? Can you do mountain climbers for a minute? Find your bottom step and go up and down it front ways and sideways. You can stand up and down from a chair to the kitchen sink until your quads get fatigued; then repeat for 2 more sets! You can do exercises while watching TV during commercials, or during your Netflix/Disney+  binge-watchathon!


If you are like me you know that you can always be more flexible! Can you touch your toes? No? Then try some back, hamstring and calf stretches. Cross your legs and stretch your hips. Cross your arm across your chest for the back of the shoulder, or get into a corner or doorway to stretch your chest. Hang your heel off your bottom step and get a good calf stretch. It feels good to stretch.

Dance Party!

Have a dance party in your living room with your kids. Pick some upbeat jams and bust a move. It is likely to raise your heart rate; the kids will have fun and you will feel happier (and maybe a little goofy). Search  “Zumba Kids” on Youtube, (or just “Zumba”) and learn some new dance moves. 

Move More, Live More

Whatever way you choose to move, the important thing is to JUST DO IT!  In the words of Ryder Carroll, “No matter how bleak or menacing a situation may appear, it does not entirely own us. It can’t take away our freedom to respond, our power to take action.” Don’t let COVID-19 keep you on the sidelines.  Make your fitness goals come alive, even if you have to modify them slightly.  Find new ways to get active and get your family or those you live with involved with you.  Keep your muscles strong so that you can move more. When you move more, you can live more!

Fitness Guide Exercise List

  • Laying on the floor, place your hands palm-down beneath your chest about shoulder width apart
  • Feet should also be about shoulder width apart at a comfortable distance
  • Push down into the floor to lift your torso until your arms are all the way extended
  • Keep your core tight to create a straight line with your body from your head to your feet
  • Modifications
    • For an easier exercise, place your knees on the floor instead of your feet to do your push-ups
    • A higher incline will also make push-ups easier - try placing your hands on your couch, the edge of your bed, a countertop, or a wall in your house
  • Use a dumbbell or milk jug for weight, anything with a handle that is easy to hold
  • Find a bench or sturdy surface about the height of your thigh to lean on
  • Kneel with one leg on the bench and your other foot on the floor, then bend over so your chest and torso are parallel with the floor
  • Pick up your dumbbell or heavy object with your palm facing inward and hold it with your arm extended and your back still straight
  • Lift the weight up to your chest in a controlled movement while keeping your upper body still
  • Lower the weight down until your arm is fully extended again, repeat for all reps before switching to the other arm
  • Sit or stand in a comfortable position with hand weights or weighted objects (such as a water bottle)
  • Lift one arm at a time in a smooth, continuous motion while keeping your back straight and abdomen tight 
  • Bring the weight up to your shoulder and then back down to starting position
  • Increase the number of repetitions in each set as you become more comfortable with the movements
  • Stand with one foot forward while holding a hand weight or weighted object (such as a water bottle)
  • Lean forward by hinging at your hips and putting most of your weight on your front foot
  • Keeping your neck and back straight, raise your elbow and swing the weighted hand backwards towards the ceiling in a smooth, continuous motion
  • Swing your hand back down to starting position and repeat for the number of reps in the set
  • After completing the set, switch your foot position and repeat this exercise with your other hand
  • Begin by standing with feet shoulder width apart and a weight or weighted object in each hand
  • Bend your elbows and raise your hands to shoulder level
  • Raise the weights above your head until your arms are fully extended, then slowly lower to shoulder height again
  • Repeat for all the repetitions in your set - increase your weight, speed, or frequency for a more challenging workout
  • Laying on the floor, place your hands palm-down beneath your chest about shoulder width apart
  • Feet should also be about shoulder width apart at a comfortable distance
  • Push down into the floor to lift your torso until your arms are all the way extended
  • Keep your core tight to create a straight line with your body from your head to your feet
  • Pick a spot on the wall to focus your eyes to keep your head and neck from dropping too low
  • Hold for 30 seconds (or longer for more of a challenge) before lowering back down to the floor
  • Modifications
    • Knee plank
      • Place your knees on the floor and raise your upper body with your arms extended, hold for 30 seconds
    • Forearm plank
      • Raise your upper body with your forearms resting on the floor, hold for 30 seconds
      • Slightly easier than a straight-arm plank
    • Side plank
      • Laying on your side, keep your top foot resting on top of your bottom foot and prop your body up with your hand or elbow
      • An easier variation is to rest your top foot on the floor in front of you for extra support while lifting your torso
    • Single-leg plank
      • Start in a normal plank position, then raise one leg and keep it elevated for 30 seconds
      • Repeat with the other leg
  • Start in a kneeling position with your palms on the floor, torso in a straight line and your knees shoulder width apart 
  • Keeping your shoulders and hips still and level, lift one hand and tap the opposite shoulder for one second, then place it on the floor again
  • Repeat with your other hand, continue alternating for 6-10 repetitions to complete one set
  • Lie on your back with your arms extended straight up in the air and your legs raised with knees bent
  • Keeping your core tight, slowly extend one leg out straight while lowering the opposite arm towards your head
  • Return your arm and leg back to starting position, then repeat with the other leg and arm
  • Begin with your hands and knees on the floor with a straight back
  • Keeping your abs tight for stability, reach one arm forward while extending the opposite leg back behind you
  • Hold this pose for 1 second, then return to starting position and repeat with the other arm and leg
  • Lie down on your back with your hands palm-down at your sides and feet flat on the floor under your knees 
  • Tighten your abs and raise your hips up until you form a straight line from your shoulders to your knees
  • Keeping your core tight, hold this position for 20 to 30 seconds before lowering back to the floor
  • For a more challenging exercise, do the bridge exercise balancing on one foot with  the other leg extended
  • Stand with your feet shoulder width apart with toes pointed outward slightly
  • Extend your arms straight out in front of you and look at one spot on the wall
  • Squat down, keeping your core tight and knees aligned with your feet
  • Lower your hip joints until they are lower than your knees
  • Straighten up to standing and repeat
  • Keep your upper body straight and step forward with one leg
  • Lower your hips until both knees are bent at a 90-degree angle - the front knee should be aligned with your front foot, while the back knee should not touch the floor 
  • Return to standing and repeat with the other leg
  • If you struggle with balance, hold onto your kitchen sink or a chair to prevent you from falling while you move
  • Start in a standing position with your feet shoulder width apart
  • Slightly bend your knees and bring your arms up in front of your chest
  • Shuffle your feet as you take small sideways steps to one side of the room, then move the opposite direction 
  • Continue shuffling for 30 seconds
  • Stand in a half-squat position with your feet close together and your core tight
  • Shift your weight onto one foot to raise the other foot up onto your toes
  • Keeping your legs bent, tap the toes of your raised foot in front of you, to the side, and behind your back, returning your foot to starting position between each extension
  • Repeat this tapping pattern for all the reps on one side, then switch and repeat with the other leg while keeping your legs bent and core tight
  • Hold on to a chair for balance if needed
  • Lie on your side with your hips perpendicular to the floor and your top foot resting on your bottom foot
  • Raise your top foot, point your toes and begin making small circles in the air in a counter-clockwise direction 
  • Keep your core tight to prevent your hips from shifting while moving your leg
  • Do 15-30 reps on one side, then switch and repeat the exercise while lying on your other side 

1 Sarah MervoshDenise Lu and Vanessa Swales. See Which States and Cities Have Told Residents to Stay at Home. The New York Times. March 26 2020.
2 Reducing Sedentary Behaviors: Sit Less and Move More (Brochure).