With COVID-19 social distancing orders still in effect or strongly recommended by state and local governments, the motivation to engage in physical activity might be difficult to muster: fear of leaving the house, shifts in daily routines, or other added restrictions may keep us on the couch more than usual. The good news is, you can engage in light-to-moderate–intensity activity from the comfort of your living room.1 Moderate-intensity activity—movement that is energetic enough to increase your breathing and heart rate—for 30 minutes a day, five days a week, can reduce stress and mental fatigue, boost energy levels, enhance sleep, and improve focus.1 These couch workouts are simple ways to incorporate a little light-to-moderate physical activity into your rdaily outine when you’re stuck at home.1,2 Make sure you’re comfortable when performing the movements below.
15 reps; 2 to 4 sets
This workout utilizes the entire body.
Place your hands on the edge of the couch, shoulder-width apart, and get into a plank position (face down), with straight arms and legs, flat back, toes on the floor, and body at roughly a 45˚ angle from the floor. While keeping your body straight, abs tight, and arms as close to your sides as possible, slowly lower your body as far as you can toward the sofa by bending at the elbows, as you would for regular push-ups. Push yourself back up by straightening your arms. Repeat.
Side Leg Raises
20 reps per leg; 1 to 3 sets
This exercise strengthens the hips and thighs.
While lying on your side, bend the bottom leg at the knee under the top leg. With your toes pointing forward, raise your top leg as high as you can, making sure to keep the leg straight. Lower the leg back down and repeat. Switch sides.
8 to 12 reps; 1 to 3 sets
This exercise works the glutes and core.
Sit your feet slightly apart and your bottom on the edge of couch. Extend your arms at shoulder level in front of your body, and slowly stand up. As you stand, lower your arms to your sides, making sure to keep your ab muscles tight while engaging the thigh muscles to push your body up off the couch. As you sit back down, extend your arms back out in front of your body. Repeat.
8 to 12 reps; 1 to 3 sets
This back and core workout can improve flexibility.
Sitting upright, move your bottom to the edge of the couch, keeping your legs together and feet flat on the floor. With hands together in praying position and arms raised slightly (if preferred, hold a pillow), slowly twist, at your waist, your upper body from side to side, making sure to keep your ab muscles tight. If you’d like to do this exercising while standing, keep your feet shoulder-width apart and your knees slightly bent.
20 per leg; 2 to 4 sets
This provides a great workout for your glutes, back, core, and hips.
Place your hands on the edge of the couch, shoulder-width apart, and get into a plank position (face down), with straight arms and legs, flat back, toes on the floor, and body at roughly a 45˚ angle from the floor. While keeping your body straight and abs tight, bring one knee to your chest, hold it there several seconds, and then lower it back into plank position. Repeat with the other leg. You can do this exercise slowly or may pick up the pace for a more challenging workout.
- Mental Health Foundation site. Physical activity and mental health. https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/a-to-z/p/physical-activity-and-mental-health.
Accessed 24 May 2020.
- Rogers M. 10 Exercises you can do from your couch. 2 Apr 2020. Blue Cross Blue Shield NC site.https://blog.bcbsnc.com/2020/04/10-exercises-you-can-do-from-your-couch/. Accessed 24 May 2020.
- Bojana Galic. You can do this full-body workout without leaving the couch. 20 Dec 2019. Live Strong site. https://www.livestrong.com/article/13723771-couch-exercises-workout/. Accessed 24 May 2020.