Home-based exercise can be beneficial for counteracting sedentary behavior and physical inactivity during the COVID-19 pandemic in older adults

Postgrad Med. 2021 Jun;133(5):469-480. doi: 10.1080/00325481.2020.1860394. Epub 2020 Dec 30.


The novel pandemic called coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), as a global public health emergency, seems to be having a major impact on physical activity (PA) behaviors. Older adults are at high risk of death from the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS CoV-2). Health authorities around the world have been implementing preventive health measures, including quarantine and self-isolation, to mitigate the COVID-19 outbreak. This period is characterized by the cessation of outdoor exercising. During this period of lockdown, PA has been one of the rare reasons for going out in some countries. To avoid the harmful effects of periods of exercise cessation, PA could be prescribed to older adults, which is of great importance for breaking their sedentary lifestyle and improving their immunity. The present review discusses the potential impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on sedentary behavior and physical inactivity in older adults. The importance of performing PA to reduce the harmful effects of the COVID-19 pandemic is discussed, and useful recommendations on home-based exercise for the older adults to maintain their level of independence, physical and mental health as well as their well-being are provided.

Keywords: aging; coronavirus; exercise; health; physical activity; sedentary.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • COVID-19 / epidemiology*
  • COVID-19 / psychology
  • Exercise / psychology
  • Female
  • Health Behavior*
  • Healthy Lifestyle*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Health / statistics & numerical data*
  • Sedentary Behavior*
  • Social Isolation / psychology