Moving Well


Incorporating these highly effective exercises into your home workout routine can help you achieve your fitness goals, while you ease yourself into getting comfortable to return to your gym after the CMCO.

08 Jun 2020
Returning to the gym after the Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO) can be a daunting scenario for many fitness enthusiasts. The gym is a communal space, hence why these individuals fear that going back to the gym can increase their risk of contracting COVID-19. This is a logical concern as respiratory droplets can live on surfaces for days1. However, gyms and fitness centres may not necessarily pose a bigger health risk to you than other communal areas1. This is because gyms and fitness centres will most likely undergo stringent sanitisation and disinfection exercises before reopening their doors to the public. In the meantime, here are a few highly effective exercises which you can try out at home during the CMCO.


A burpee is the ultimate exercise when it comes to working all the major muscle groups in your body simultaneously. This exercise is made up of two parts - from a standing position to a plank position and a push-up followed by a leap into the air2. It is highly effective for building strength and endurance, burning calories and improving your cardiovascular fitness2. Performing burpees at home as part of a high-intensity interval training (HIIT) workout during the CMCO can help you to attain maximal physical and mental benefits in minimal time.

Burpees can give your body a complete workout on its own without having to combine with other exercises. Performing as many repetitions of a burpee as you can within a fixed duration can help you strengthen the muscles in your legs, hips, glutes, abdomen, arms, chest and shoulders2. It is especially beneficial for your cardiovascular fitness as well, as it can strengthen your heart and lungs, improve cholesterol levels and brain function as well as lower your blood pressure and risk of chronic diseases2. If standard burpees are easy for you, opt to increase the difficulty of your workout by jumping onto a box after every push-up or incorporating the use of light weights in your routine2.


Moving your body to the rhythm of music is extremely beneficial for your physical and mental health. It can also improve your social well-being as you will be able to gain new friends who share a similar passion for dancing. Dancing is suitable for individuals from all walks of life and cuts across generations from children to senior citizens. It is low impact and can significantly improve cardiovascular health of adults. The recommended dance duration to improve your cardiovascular health is anywhere between 150-300 minutes per week3.

Dancing can also boost your cognitive performance and challenge your brain. It also improves the area of the brain that controls memory and skills as dance requires you to remember constantly changing movements and recall dance choreographies3. For example, Sh’Bam is a dance workout that can be done at home. All you need is a stable internet connection and a can-do attitude4. Sh’Bam focuses on fun and getting your heart pumping. It incorporates choreography tailored to a mix of popular songs, dance music and modern Latin beats5. Follow the routine at your own pace and if you cannot sync your movement to that of the instructor, just rewind and repeat. At the end of the day, it is all about having fun and getting in a good sweat.


The practice of yoga combines breathing exercises, meditation and poses6. It provides a few physical and mental health benefits for the body. These include relaxation of the mind and body as well as stress reduction6. Yoga can also be used to cope with anxiety attacks. In a recent study, 34 women who suffered from anxiety disorder were asked to participate in yoga classes twice a week for a duration of two months. After this period, these women were analysed again. They were found to have significantly lower levels of anxiety as compared to a controlled group of individuals who did not practice yoga6.

Practicing yoga can also be an effective antidepressant6. This is especially important during the CMCO as a more sedentary and idle lifestyle which comes with staying at home can cause depression amongst some individuals. The antidepressant effect of yoga may be attributed to decreased levels of cortisol, the stress hormone which adversely affects serotonin6. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter which helps to regulate mood and social behaviour, amongst other things7. Gentle flow yoga incorporates fundamental yoga poses as part of a routine. The seamless transition from one pose to another will help you to build stability and relieve your body of stress. The breathing techniques you will learn can also aid in calming your mind and restoring mental and physical balance8.


The squat is another exercise which combines the use of several muscles in your upper and lower body as one9. It is dynamic and functional in nature as the muscles used during this exercise are also responsible for helping you through other daily tasks. These include basic movements such as walking, climbing up and down staircases or carrying loads9. It is also important to help you perform other types of exercises and athletic functions.

Performed correctly, the squat can strengthen and improve the muscle tone of several muscles in your lower body. These include your glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings, calves as well as hip adductors and flexors9. This exercise can also strengthen your core which is the foundation of all functional movements9. Performing different variations of the squat can help you to challenge other muscle groups in your body, keep your workout interesting and help you stay motivated.


The push-up is extremely effective for building upper body strength. If proper form is used, you will quickly see an increase in the tone and strength of the triceps, pectoral and shoulder muscles10. However, if the same push-up variation is performed regularly, your body will eventually stop feeling challenged. This will increase your risk of experiencing a plateau10. A plateau is when your body no longer attains the same physical benefits as it did previously10.

One of the best ways to constantly challenge your body with push-ups during the CMCO would be to participate in a fitness challenge. Aim for 100 push-ups daily and incorporate multiple variations into the routine. Identify which muscle groups of your body you would like to strengthen and develop your push-up challenge routine around those goals. For example, performing 30 decline push-ups, 40 regular push-ups and 30 incline push-ups daily can help you to carve out that chest physique you have always wanted.

You have the power to improve the quality of your health. It is only a matter of how bad you want it. And if you want to improve your mind and body well-being, then these live workouts and exercises will help you achieve your goals. As time progresses, you will be satisfied with the physical results, but will fall in love more with the process instead. Use this time indoors to commit to quality home-based exercises to achieve maximum output and carry that momentum back into the gym once the CMCO is officially lifted. Stay safe and #keepactivegofurther, everybody.

Fitness First Malaysia has released a series of live workouts recently. It offers the viewing public an opportunity to participate in a variety of fitness classes daily, as well as fitness classes presented by its sister brands across the region weekly. A comprehensive workout schedule can be found on each country’s Facebook page and website4.