There’s no perfect way to quarantine

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted almost every aspect of our lives, notably health. One year into the COVID-19 pandemic nearly 3 million people have died worldwide.  For much of the world, the turmoil began in March 2020, and set into motion closures, cancellations, and quarantines.  “Virtual everything” — educational instruction, business meetings, retail shopping — became the norm.  We all participated in a mass worldwide and national experiment of online communication and delivery. Even healthcare, physiotherapy (physical therapy) sessions, and fitness classes transitioned to online platforms. While online activity was frantic and went into overdrive, our bodies became still. We sat for hours in front of a computer monitor finding new ways of communicating, learning, connecting, and being productive.  What we thought may last for a few weeks extended to months on end. And now, one year later, some pockets of the world are currently experiencing their 3rd wave of lockdowns to slow the spread the coronavirus.


How about you? How is your health one year in?


One year of the COVID-19 pandemic witnessed dramatic changes in human health and physical activity. While some people have enjoyed greater flexibility in their schedules, allowing time for exercise, others have experienced a decrease in physical activity. The downward trend in exercise levels is quantified below:

  1. Sitting and sedentary behavior has increased.  There was an ~12% decline in physical activity and movement worldwide two months into the first shutdown to stop the spread of COVID-19. Gyms closed and group exercise classes largely stopped. As the online world increased our incidental exercise decreased.  Read our previous blog from May 2020 that highlights these statistics. 
  2. Many people report weight gain. This is observed anecdotally as we look around or even down! About 30-60% of people reported weight gain during lockdown periods.  Surveys and studies, including those in the USAAustralia, and Europe note these trends. Weight gain appears to correlate with increased snacking and sedentary behaviors.
  3. Human connection is important.  The pandemic and the resulting physical and social isolation helped us really understand how in-person connection with others is vital to help maintain our mental and psychological health. Exercising with otherx outdoors is an excellent way to stay connected.
  4. Exercise patterns changed! Disruption of our daily routines, closing of gyms, and halted in-person exercise classes became standard! While many gyms have reopened, they typical operate at lower capacities to ensure physical distancing. Consequently:
    • Exercise shifted to the outdoors and in-home gyms. Exercise equipment sold out and placed on backorder for months!  In a previous blog, we discussed the debate surrounding mask-wearing during exercise.
    • Digital exercise options increased. Classes that were typically delivered in person were transported to online format as gyms closed. The move to the digital realm was rapid and continues to evolve. At we responded and provided many exercise challenges to motivate you to keep active. See below.


How have your activity and exercise habits evolved over the last year?


Have you increased or decreased your activity level, or is it just different?  Or perhaps it is a “mixed bag”?  One year into the pandemic is a great time to reevaluate your physical health.  What can you do to improve?

The key message here is – be active.  Adhere to the clear international activity guidelines for recommended activity levels of 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise per week or 75 minutes of intense exercise.

One way to reset your habits is to try our Challenges.  For this week, we renintroduce Challenge 1, which is outlined below or here when first published in March 2020.

Challenge 1

The Simpli Move Health 7-Day Challenge 1 involves six exercises that challenge the arms, core, gluts and legs and done in any order.

  • Stretch for 2-3 minutes, prior to exercising
  • Complete 20 repetitions of each individual exercise (20 seconds for the plank)
  • Rest for 10 seconds between exercises (Modified versions of the exercise are in parentheses)

So here it is:

    1. Air squats (or mini air squats)
    2. Sit ups (or crunches)
    3. Push-ups (or wall push-ups or knee push-ups)
    4. Bridges
    5. Plank (or from the knees or with straight arms)
    6. Step Ups onto a chair (or onto a step)


To modify for different fitness levels, adjust the number of repetitions to 10 or 15 reps (easier), or 30 reps (challenging!).

To help you be active, try some of our other exercise challenges from 2020.

Challenge 1       7-Day strength-based exercises

Challenge 2       7-Day strength-based exercises

Challenge 3       6 Week aerobic exercise – running

Challenge 4       6 Week aerobic exercise – walking

Challenge 5       7-Day strength-based exercises

Challenge 6       7-Day strength-based exercises

Challenge 7       7-Day strength-based exercises

Challenge 8       7-Day strength and aerobic exercises