Staying healthy has never been more important. Eating well and keeping active supports our physical and
mental health – especially during times of change.
Social distancing and
self-isolation are changing our daily habits – when and where we work, how we get active and keep kids entertained, and what we eat. But that doesn't mean we can't make new healthy habits. It could take some getting used to, but you might be surprised just how adaptable your family is!
Follow our tips for making new healthy habits in your home.
Exercise and physical activity – what's allowed?
Staying active is one of the best things you can do to keep your body and mind healthy. The types of exercise you can do during COVID-19 will depend on whether you're able to leave your home.
This advice applies to people living in NSW and is being updated regularly. Make sure you follow the
NSW Government's instructions to protect yourself and others. If you live outside of NSW, follow the relevant State or Territory advice.
What activities can I do safely within social distancing restrictions?
As you continue to practice physical distancing, you can leave your home for exercise, as long as you avoid close contact with other people. Even as NSW restrictions begin to change, you must continue to keep a minimum 1.5 metres distance from others at all times.
NSW Government advice has been updated to allow outdoor gatherings of up to 10 people from 15 May.
Make sure to follow physical distancing and good hygiene advice from NSW Health when you exercise.
Activities that are allowed include:
- walking, jogging or running in an open outdoor space
- home workouts
- outdoor workouts or exercise in a public place with
up to 10 people
- outdoor playground and exercise equipment can be used with caution. Make sure you practice
good hygiene by washing or sanitising hands before and after use
- outdoor swimming pools – can operate but can have
no more than 10 people at a time and no more than one person per lane. Change areas will also be closed.
These activities remain closed or not allowed:
Indoor sporting events
Local sporting competitions
Public indoor swimming pools
- Indoor recreation facilities (squash courts, gyms, table tennis centres, health studios, bowling alleys and ice rinks)
If you have returned from overseas travel, been diagnosed with COVID-19 or been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19, follow the
self-isolation and mandatory quarantine guidelines.
Home activity ideas for adults
- Try one of our
easy home exercises – suitable for all fitness levels
- Explore workout apps and videos online
- Do some laps of the stairs to get your heart rate up
- Learn a dance routine – explore fun tutorials online or on social media
- Floor exercises like pilates or yoga
- Break out the skipping rope (or borrow one from the kids)
- Get active with the kids and play games like 'stuck in the mud', hopscotch, or 'hide and seek', or simply kick a ball around in your backyard
- Check out our
quick tips for busy people for more ways to stay active
If you need help getting started with a healthier routine, now could be the best time to join
Get Healthy – a free NSW Health phone-based health coaching service for adults.
Home activity ideas for kids
Children need physical activity to thrive – it helps support their growth, development, sleep, mood and concentration.
Keeping them active and entertained (and safe) at home can present some challenges if they're used to school and day care routines. So what can you do to help?
- Set a routine – plan your day or week together so that learning, play time, meals and rest are broken up throughout the day and kids know what to expect
- Timers to break up screen time and encourage movement
- Work together – listen to this
Short and Curly podcast to help kids learn about working together when life gets hard
- Allow kids to lead the activities to give them a sense of ownership
- If you are looking for more expert guidance on navigating these challenges with children, visit the
raisingchildren.net.au COVID-19 resource
And if you need some inspiration for getting active inside, here are some ideas and resources.
Allow kids to do activities they enjoy, especially those that get their heart rates up. Try:
- Running races up and down stairs
- Make your own hopscotch – outline your driveway or porch with chalk or play indoors using tape
- Get kids dancing with online dance videos
- Your favourite online kid-friendly workouts
- Handstands against the wall (maybe take shoes off first!)
- Build an indoor fort or cubby house
- Plant a herb or veggie garden
- Playing with balloons rather than balls (to protect those breakables)
- An indoor mini-golf course using ping-pong balls and something safe like a spatula
- Online guided yoga or meditation
- Virtual excursions to keep brains active (just be mindful of screen time)
- Use what you have at home – board games, puzzles, Lego, cards, books, craft
- Give children chores to do around the house each day
- Kids' virtual illustration classes
Visit animals at the zoo, without leaving home
How much activity do kids need?
There's no doubt it's challenging to be as active as usual while we're socially distancing. But it's
recommended that where possible,
children and teens aged 5-17 years need:
- One hour or more each day of moderate to vigorous physical activity
- Several hours a day of a variety of light physical activities
- No more than 2 hours per day of
screen time (except video chatting).
children under 5 should spend at least 180 minutes doing a variety of physical activities, and infants under 1 need 30 minutes of tummy time as well as lots of interactive play throughout the day. Try keeping screen time to under 1 hour a day for
kids 3-5 and no screen time for
toddlers and babies under 2 (except video chatting).
Remember, getting enough
sleep is also important for all children (and adults too!).
Healthy eating during isolation
Changes to mealtime and cooking habits might take some getting used to – like availability of ingredients, access to groceries and fresh food, and more time spent cooking at home. Explore our expert tips for
rethinking healthy eating habits during this time of change.