Exercise in isolation for those with chronic disease

exercise telehealth

Exercise in Isolation for the Elderly and Those with Chronic Disease


Being active throughout your life is the best way to maintain health, well-being and quality of life. It can help to prevent and manage long term medical conditions, whilst helping you to maintain your independence and reduce your falls risk.


The government has recommended the following people should limit their contact with others as much as possible as they are more vulnerable to becoming severely ill with COVID-19:

  • People aged 70+
  • People aged 65+ (or Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 50+) with long term medical conditions such as:
    • Lung disease
    • Heart disease
    • Diabetes
    • Immune deficiencies


With recommendations for isolation in place it is more vital than ever that you learn strategies to self-manage your health at home. Telehealth is a way for us to provide you the tools to do this. Exercise in isolation via telehealth can help, for condition specific information please continue reading.


Lung disease

Why it’s important to exercise:

  • Improve your breathing
  • Clear mucus/ sputum from your chest
  • Reduce your breathlessness during daily activities
  • Reduce anxiety and make you feel more in control


  • People with asthma should take their preventative puffer prior to exercise and have their reliever puffer on hand during exercise.
  • Intermittent aerobic exercise at a low intensity until you can tolerate a longer exercise duration. This could include simple exercises such as walking or pedalling.
  • Resistance training of the upper and lower body as well as core muscles with low weight and high repetitions. Examples include exercising with weights, resistance bands or objects around the home such as milk containers or backpacks.
  • Flexibility and breathing exercises such as tai chi.


Heart disease

Why it’s important to exercise:

  • Prevents blood vessels from narrowing further and reduces blood clots
  • Increases delivery of blood to the heart
  • Helps maintain a normal heart rhythm
  • Decreases LDLs (bad cholesterol) and increases HDLs (good cholesterol)


  • Ensure suitable/ prolonged warm up and cool down.
  • Carry angina medication if applicable.
  • Aim to build up to a total of 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity each week. You should still be able to carry on a conversation without getting short of breath.
  • Aerobic exercise should begin at 5-10 minutes and gradually increase as symptoms/fatigue allows.
  • Resistance exercises with low weight and high repetitions.



Why it’s important to exercise:

  • Increased sugar uptake by muscles, in other ways that don’t depend on insulin
  • Improve the body’s response to insulin, which helps to regulate blood sugar levels
  • Weight loss


  • To avoid potential problems, blood glucose levels need to be checked before, during and after exercise.
  • Preference for exercising in the early morning. Exercise before bed is NOT recommended.
  • Aim for at least 150 minutes a week of moderately intense physical activities such as:
    • Walking or pedalling
    • Resistance training
    • Other activities such as dancing and Tai chi


Falls History

Why it’s important to exercise:

  • Improve balance and confidence
  • Improve muscular strength
  • Improve walking speed


  • Supervision may be required for some challenging tasks
  • The focus of exercises should be on balance related tasks such as walking or strength training programs as single interventions do not appear to prevent falls.
  • Programs of at least 2 hours of exercise per week for 6 months or more are more effective in preventing falls than lower dose programs.
  • Tai chi can be an effective form of exercise to prevent falls.


The British Journal of Sports Medicine have also recently released the below infographic reiterating the above concepts:

We are now offering Telehealth services which you can access from the safety of your home. Exercise programs can be prescribed and monitored online by your very own Exercise Physiologist. Exercise equipment can also be arranged to be delivered to your door. Contact us on (02) 4314 5183 to find out more.

Exercise in isolation via telehealth can help you maintain your good health during the Corona Pandemic. Please contact us if you need support via our telehealth service.