Exercising and staying active during coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions

While we keep our distance to stop the spread of COVID-19, staying active is critical for both our physical and mental health. Find out why it is so important, what you can and can’t do, and how to stay on track with your exercise routine.

Why staying active is important

As we spend more time at home to stop the spread of COVID-19, it’s easy to forget our daily activity routine.

Many of our usual venues have closed, and we’re no longer getting incidental exercise from commuting or running errands.

But it’s especially important to stay active during this time. Regular exercise is good for both our physical and mental health. It has many benefits, including:

  • reducing the risk of health conditions like stroke and heart disease
  • controlling weight
  • reducing stress and anxiety
  • improving sleep

Read our guidelines on how much physical activity you should get each day.

Physical activity you can’t do right now

To ensure physical distancing to stop the spread of the virus, in most places you can’t currently:

  • go to gyms, health clubs or fitness centres
  • visit public swimming pools
  • play indoor or outdoor organised sporting events
  • attend classes, such as yoga or dance, in community centres and halls
  • use playgrounds or outdoor gyms
  • visit national or state parks
  • exercise with a group such as a boot camp or team sport

State and territory governments have different restrictions. See your state or territory website for more information:

Ways you can still be active

There are still many ways you can be active while maintaining physical distance.

Out and about

You can still exercise in some public places. You can meet up with a friend, family member, or trainer. You can:

  • walk
  • jog
  • ride a bike or scooter
  • kick a ball at the oval

Just remember to stay home if you are unwell, keep 1.5 metres apart, avoid physical contact, and wash your hands.

At home

Physical activity you can do at home includes:

  • weights training — if you don’t have any weights, make your own with filled water bottles, cans or jars
  • yoga
  • pilates
  • backyard sports
  • going up and down stairs
  • on-the-spot running, star jumps, sit ups and push ups
  • gardening
  • dancing
  • virtual fitness classes
  • Zoom or Skype group lounge exercises with your friends

You will find plenty of inspiration at the Find Your 30 campaign.

Regardless of your fitness level, or the space you have to work with, you will find free exercise videos on YouTube and a large choice of home workout apps available for download.

Motivation and support

It’s important to be active most days, or every day if you can. But staying motivated can be a challenge at times.

Things that might help you keep on track include:

  • finding things you enjoy doing
  • varying your activities to keep them interesting
  • setting achievable goals
  • setting a routine and planning your day to include time for activity
  • monitoring your activity and progress
  • getting the support of your family and friends

Read more about getting active and download our exercise planner to keep you on track.

It’s important to care for your physical and mental health in difficult times. See our advice on:

COVID-19 Sports and Health Advisory Committee

COVID-19 Sports and Health Advisory Committee will support and guide sporting organisations. The Committee includes experts from across the sporting sector.

The current advice is as follows:

  • The public health advice in your state or territory needs to support a restart of activities. Any exemptions will need approval from your state or territory.
  • Anyone with cold or flu-like symptoms, even if mild, cannot take part until they are well.
  • Shared items and areas must be deep cleaned as per the Infection Control Guidelines.
  • Everyone must practise good hygiene. They must wash their hands before and after each session and must avoid touching their face.
  • Keep records of who attends each venue (names and phone numbers). Public health officials will need this if there is a confirmed case of COVID-19.
  • Each organisation must make sure they follow protocols and members are aware of their duties.
  • Organisations must keep up to date with the National Guidelines on the Department of Health website.

See an example of how organisations are developing COVIDSafe plans and resources.

COVIDSafe procedures for outdoor mass participation events 

Mass participation events have a higher risk for COVID-19 transmission than many other sport and recreation activities. This is because of:

  • the number of people involved
  • the difficulty in keeping at a safe physical distance
  • complex contact tracing
  • the potential for wide geographic infection when participants return home after an event.

Mass participation events include, but aren’t limited to:

  • park runs
  • fundraising walk/runs
  • marathons   
  • ocean swims           
  • triathlons
  • trail running
  • group cycling
  • obstacle racing.

Use the following guidelines to help develop COVIDSafe plans for activities. Note though that restrictions continue to apply to sports and recreation activities.

Things to consider to keep the risk low

Before the event:

  • all participants, volunteers and staff must sign in with name and phone numbers to help with contact tracing
  • set check-in lines at 1.5m apart
  • stagger arrival times to avoid groups
  • make sure hand sanitiser is available and used
  • avoid gathering before and after the events.

At the start and finish lines:

  • stagger start times
  • let participants start and go at their own pace, rather than
  • in groups.

During the event:

  • limit the number of participants, volunteers, staff and spectators
  • increase the distance between individuals in walking events to five metres, and ten metres for running events
  • provide personal protective equipment (PPE) to all support and medical staff
  • regularly clean common touch points, particularly in events with obstacles
  • avoid gatherings at checkpoints
  • don’t provide drinks or food – all participants must carry their own, with water stations provided for bottle refills
  • make hand sanitiser available where possible.


  • don’t gather for debriefings or award ceremonies
  • don’t allow on-site therapeutic treatments like recovery massage.

Additionally you can consider options for virtual events.

If you have any questions you can contact the Committee via email: COVID19Sports [at] health.gov.au 

Staying informed

To stay up to date on COVID-19:

You can also join our WhatsApp channel or use our COVID-19 app.

Australian Government WhatsApp channel for COVID-19

Join our COVID-19 WhatsApp channel to learn the latest on Australia's response to coronavirus (COVID-19). If you're already a WhatsApp user you can send a message to the channel to connect. If you don't have WhatsApp, download the app to join the channel.

Coronavirus Australia app

Stay up to date with official information and advice about the coronavirus (COVID-19) situation. You can check your symptoms and get notified when urgent information and updates are published.


Coronavirus (COVID-19) resources for the general public

A collection of information sheets, links to apps and other resources for the general public and industry to help you stay informed and share important messages.


National coronavirus and COVID-19 vaccine helpline

If you need information about COVID-19, COVID-19 vaccines or help with the COVIDSafe app, call the telephone number listed below. If you need assistance with booking a COVID-19 vaccine appointment, please note the call centre is unable to book appointments on your behalf.

View contact

Translating and Interpreting Service (TIS National)

TIS National is for people who do not speak English and for agencies and businesses that need to communicate with their non-English speaking clients.

View contact

Last updated: 
20 August 2020

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