Social distancing and exercise

Saadia Kirsten Jantjes shares helpful tips to keep you and your family active during this period of social distancing.

With social distancing and self-isolation becoming a part our daily lives due to the outbreak of COVID-19, it is a great chance to optimise on some family time and establish familial bonds. A great way to do so is through exercise.

Managing your diabetes means coming up with exciting ways to keep fit and active, especially since most gyms are either closed or too high-risk.

One of the major benefits of exercise, apart from weight management, is the major and positive effect it has on boosting the immune system, which is imperative at this point.

Get started

If you’re still new to exercise and not sure where to start, there are many online videos and workout programmes which you can download, either on Pintrest or YouTube. A word of advice, make sure the source is reliable and that the content is provided by a registered fitness trainer.

Change it up

If you are working from home and taking care of the kids, doing the same thing each day will become monotonous. Add variation so that you are doing different activities each day ranging from cardio activities, like walking or running, to strength training activities, like weight training or Pilates.

Make it rewarding

Create little challenges and make it competitive, rewarding and fun. Other than getting your Vitality step or workout rewards, make it rewarding to work out as a family. You can do a timed workout or obstacle course. Use incentives, such as chores, to see who gets to choose the next movie or series, or who gets a special treat to keep the morale up at home.

Track your progress

It’s a good idea to do some basic measurements (weight, height, circumference measurements like waist, hip, thigh) and a basic fitness test to track your progress. This can be something simple like seeing how many push-ups and squats you can perform in one minute. Retest and redo your measurements every week to make sure you’re on track and making progress.

Be mindful

It is a stressful time, which could result in increased anxiety for both you and your family. This isn’t helpful when it comes to managing your diabetes. Incorporate activities, such as yoga and meditation, into your exercise plan to find a good balance between physical fitness and mental health.

It is a trying and testing time for everyone. Taking care of your and your family’s health and well-being is of the utmost importance, so make sue you are taking time to stay fit, healthy and mentally active.


Saadia Kirsten Jantjes is a physiotherapist with a passion for health and wellness. With a second degree in Sport Science, exercise is one of her favourite rehabilitation tools, to not only rehab injuries but prevent injuries too. Saadia has her own private practice in Morningside, Johannesburg, while working at a Sub-Acute Clinic and furthering her studies in Pilates.