If you feel your life has switched into an alternate universe, you’re not alone. Social distancing is affecting everything that we considered normal, even mundane, including the way we exercise. Maybe you’re used to hitting the gym after work, or going for a run, or maybe that daily walk in the park was your personal way to unwind and relax. 

Now that you have to comply with shelter-in-place order, you may not be able to go to the gym, but you can certainly bring some of it home, and that way still maintain your healthy routines. And it’s better if you do. Especially if you’re working from home now, sitting in front of your laptop for hours on end, or continuously stressing over this newfound reality. When paired with relaxation techniques, exercise can help cope with stress, remain calm and continue to protect your health against major illnesses. So, make sure to take a break from it all.

Right now, some of you may find it difficult to get in the right mindset to work out. That’s why we suggest keeping it simple – and working your whole body at a time with some easy yet effective exercises.

Simple whole-body routine to do at home

exercise at home

The below routine is very easy and can be done anywhere in minutes. It’s a series of 8 exercises that require only your bodyweight, so no equipment is needed. 

You can do them as a sequence, taking a short pause in between the exercises, or even separately.  

Be warned that this routine may have a side-effect: a sudden burst of energy. In case it happens, don’t stop there, repeat the entire set one more time.

1. High Knees Running in Place

The high knees exercise is a mix of run in place with exaggerated knee lifts. It can be used as a warm-up exercise that prepares your body for more complex movements and improves your overall fitness. Essentially, performing this exercise gets your heart rate up, enhances your power and durability.  


  1. Stand straight with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  2. Face forward and open your chest
  3. Start running on the spot with knees as high as possible. 
  4. Your arms should follow the motion as if you were running normally. 
  5. Raise your left arm together with your right knee, and vice versa.
  6. Breathe deeply and as naturally as you can.

Duration: 1 minute.

2. Cat-Cow Stretch

As the name suggests, it mimics bodily movements of a cat and that of a cow. This friendly pose finds its origins in yoga where it’s used to provide a deep stretch for the muscles of the torso and bring flexibility to the spine. It is the combination of the two poses which gently flow into each other. Coordinating breathing with postural movement will help reduce stress and anxiety. 


  1. Get on all fours. 
  2. Breathe in as you arch your back and hold it there for a bit. 
  3. Then exhale as you pull your belly in and round your spine, letting your head drop. 
  4. Hold the position for a few seconds. 
  5. Repeat.

Duration: 45 seconds.

3. Cross Jacks

This popular exercise follows in the footsteps of the equally famous jumping jacks, but you can say it’s somewhat more elegant (less of the arm-flailing situation). This movement was designed to tone your arms and legs and get your heart rate up.


  1. Stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.
  2. Your arms should be stretched out to the sides at shoulder height, palms down. 
  3. Jump and bring your feet and arms crossed one over the other in front of you. 
  4. Repeat alternating sides.

Duration: 30 seconds on each side.

4. Squats

It's a great exercise for working your quads. Make sure to do them correctly and pick a duration of time (or number of squats) that feel challenging enough, or follow our advice below.


  1. Position your feet shoulder-width apart. 
  2. Hold your back straight
  3. Slowly begin to lower your body until your thighs are parallel to the floor.
  4. Keep your heels on the ground. 
  5. You can balance your body by placing your arms in front of you. 
  6. Return to the starting position and repeat.

Duration: 45 seconds.

5. Side-Lying Triceps Extension

Time to work those triceps. It’s one of the most stimulating exercises for this muscle group. It works the triceps from your elbow and all the way to the broadest muscle of the spine.  


  1. Lie on one side, supporting yourself with your upper hand.
  2. Keep your lower hand on your waist. 
  3. Start slowly pushing against the floor with your upper hand.
  4. Lift your upper body as high as you can. 
  5. Hold for a bit at the top and lie back down. 
  6. Repeat alternating sides.

Duration: 30 seconds on each side.

6. Bird-Dog

This seemingly simple exercise effectively engages both the core and back muscles at the same time, thus helping build low back function. And it doesn't stop there: it works your abdominals, butocks and thighs. 


  1. Go on all fours. 
  2. Keep your back and neck straight. 
  3. Lift one arm and reach the opposite leg back. 
  4. Keep your body in a straight line without arching your lower back. 
  5. Look down. 
  6. Return to the starting position and swap sides.

Duration: 40 seconds on each side.

7. Plank

It’s a core workout staple. But not just that. It’s an all-embracing exercise with invaluable benefits for your back, arms, legs and spine. It’s a challenging exercise, so if you are new to it, try staying in the hold position for no more than 10 seconds at first.


  1. Lie on your stomach and lift your hips.
  2. Rest your weight on the forearms and toes. 
  3. Engage your abs and buttock muscles.
  4. Keep your body straight. 
  5. Hold this position.

Duration: 20-30 seconds.

8. Lying Hip Raise

It mainly targets your glutes and puts little emphasis on your back, keeping it injury-free. You’ll feel a pleasant stretch in your hips and torso. It just feels so good, which makes it a perfect closing exercise.  


  1. Lie down on the floor with your legs stretched out and arms by your sides. 
  2. Bend your knees and lift your pelvis off the floor until it forms a straight line with your hips and torso or is a little higher. 
  3. Keep your shoulders and upper back on the floor. 
  4. Hold this position and then lower your body back down.

Duration: 1 minute.

Now that you’ve finished this workout routine, time to stretch some more, breathe and rest a couple of minutes before moving on with work or household tasks. 

Not by fitness alone

If you feel like you’re falling into routine: another week, the same workout, you might want to discover more home exercise options to jazz things up a little

There is a variety of activities that will do the trick. You can do yoga or Pilates, try weight training or aerobics, and don’t forget about dancing! 

You can find these and other activities in our Verv app where we have recently introduced a Stay-At-Home Kit – a collection of exercises, sounds and meditations to help you with your physical and emotional well-being during the coronavirus pandemic.

And from all of us here at Verv, stay safe, healthy and as active as you can.

Written by Volha Zaitsava
Volha is a writer and Wellness Editor at Verv. She is a big believer that the only healthy way to approach fitness and nutrition is through self-care and...
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