At-Home Exercise

Tips and Suggestions for Safe At-Home Exercise

Physical activity is one of the best things that we can do for our health and wellbeing. Continuing to exercise at home while maintaining physical distancing rules is a great way to maintain our fitness and wellbeing. However, exercising without supervision requires additional planning and precautions.

Ideally, to maintain aerobic fitness, you will continue to do exercise that increases your heart rate. This might include a power walk around your neighbourhood (as long as you can safely do so while maintaining physical distancing rules of at least two meters, as set out by public health officials). If you have space within your home, you might also consider using online exercise videos to maintain your fitness. Some free cancer-specific videos exist online, and links to some suggestions can be found below:

Because exercise videos posted online are unmonitored and can vary in quality, we cannot endorse online exercise programs, or guarantee your safety while doing these videos. Generally, many online videos may be safe when you keep in mind the following tips:

  • Ensure that you are hydrated and well-rested. If you are not feeling well, you can search for a lower-intensity or gentler exercise, or plan exercise for a time of day when you tend to feel better and have more energy
  • Safety first. Make sure that you have adequate space around you if you are doing an exercise video at home and that there are no obstacles or hazards that could lead to injury. Wear clothing and footwear appropriate for the exercise you are doing.
  • When selecting a video, make sure it is at a level that feels manageable for your fitness level. This can include:
    • Selecting a video that includes a warm-up and cool down
    • Selecting a video that offers modifications for different fitness levels
    • Being flexible: If you start a video and realize it is too challenging, too simple, or doesn’t feel safe, stop and choose something else
    • Finding videos that you enjoy and that are effective and safe may take some trial and error. When in doubt, please email our team at cep.lab@ubc.ca for our input
    • Ask yourself if the exercises in the video are similar to exercises you know and have practiced before. If a video is showing an advanced exercise, it may not be the right thing to learn on your own
    • Customize your search based on your ability: You can specifically search for terms like “low impact” or “beginner” to narrow your search to match your ability
  • Keep general safety in mind regardless of what exercise you choose.
    • Let a family member or friend know when you are exercising and where you are
    • Have water and your phone with you
    • If you feel dizzy or unwell, sit down and rest in a safe place – call for help if you need it (for emergencies, call 9-1-1)
    • If you are exercising or walking outdoors, be mindful that fewer people are currently outside and ensure that you are staying in a safe and visible location with your phone in your pocket
    • If you have additional medical needs such as asthma requiring medical attention, diabetes, a history of stroke, or a heart condition, consider a virtual appointment with your doctor to discuss exercise safety
    • If you ever experience chest pain, dizziness, or fainting at rest or with exercise, you should consult with your doctor before undertaking unsupervised exercise
    • If you have any diagnosed muscle, bone, or joint problem that you have been told could be made worse by participating in physical activity, you should consult with your doctor before undertaking unsupervised exercise

Remember, regular exercise is generally safe for most people. Exercising at home without supervision requires additional considerations, but is generally safe and recommended. If you’re not sure, reach out to our team at cep.lab@ubc.ca for additional support.