Recommendations for physical activity during the COVID-19 pandemic

Po Wen Ku, Tian Tian, Hsiang Wong, Li Jung Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak has not only had severe social and economic effect but also has substantially affected the lifestyles of individuals. As the coronavirus pandemic rips through the world, many countries have implemented series of restrictions to control infection, such as the wearing of masks outside, social distancing, home isolation, home quarantine, group quarantine, and lockdowns, and these measures have inevitably limited physical activity and required more sedentary behavior. How a person can remain physically active and healthy during the COVID-19 pandemic is a crucial issue. The following procedure was implemented to review evidence regarding the COVID-19 outbreak and physical activity. First, the latest physical activity guidelines released by the United States, United Kingdom, and World Health Organization were reviewed, and the prevalence of insufficient physical activity was determined. Second, the effects of the COVID-19 outbreak on physical activity and amount of sedentary behavior were discussed using the obtained evidence. Finally, the current review suggests the following for individuals wishing to remain physically active and healthy: (1) Some physical activity is preferable to nothing. Engaging in some moderate-intensity physical activity, such as at least 4,000-5,000 steps per day (7,000-8,000 is better) at a pace of 100-130 steps per minute and resistance training twice a week to improve major muscle-group strength, is essential for everyone. (2) Daily sedentary time should be kept to less than 9 hours a day, and numerous breaks (e.g., every 50 minutes) in which sedentary time is replaced with light activity (e.g., 5-to 10-minute walking or stretch exercise) should be taken. (3) Ideally, people should engage in different types of physical activity, including aerobic exercise, resistance training, stretching, and balance training. (4) Finally, people should select types of exercise (e.g., freehand exercise, equipment-assisted exercise, electronic exercise, or household work) that fit their interestsand resources. These suggestions provide guidance for strengthening individuals' mental and physical well-being through physical activity in response to the COVID-19 pandemic or future similar outbreaks.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)364-372
Number of pages9
JournalTaiwan Journal of Public Health
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Aug

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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