Can over 70s go out for exercise?

The coronavirus has killed people of all ages but elderly and anyone with underlying health conditions are at greater risk of the illness. The Government first introduced the lockdown on March 23, but today, seven weeks later, the Government published new guidance, slightly easing the social distancing measures.


Can over 70s go out for exercise?

At first, there were four reasons why people should leave their homes in the current lockdown. These were:

  • Shop for basic necessities like food and medicine, as infrequently as possible
  • Medical needs, such as donating blood, providing care or help to a vulnerable person, and to avoid or escape risk of injury
  • Travel for work purposes if you cannot work from home
  • Undertake one form of exercise a day either alone or with members of your household


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But in Mr Johnson’s address to the nation on Sunday, he announced there will be some easing of parts of the measures.

While people must still stay at a distance of two metres (six ft) away from others, they can now meet in parks to exercise, sunbathe or talk.

People who cannot work from home should also be actively encouraged to do so.

However, the changes to the lockdown measures do not apply to elderly and vulnerable.

Addressing the Commons on Monday, the Prime Minister said elderly men and women should not venture out just yet.

He said: “I’m sorry to say however, Mr Speaker, that we shall continue to ask those who are clinically vulnerable including pregnant women and people over 70 or those with pre-existing chronic conditions to take particular care to minimise contact with those outside their household.

“And we must continue to shield people who are extremely vulnerable.

“They should, I’m afraid, remain at home and avoid any direct contact with others.”

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The Government advice states: “We strongly advise you to follow these measures as much as you can and to significantly limit your face-to-face interaction with friends and family if possible, particularly if you are over 70 (regardless of medical conditions).”

If over 70, you can go for a walk or exercise outdoors if you stay more than two metres away from others.

Exercise is important not only to physical wellbeing but also for a person’s mental health.

There are ideas for exercises you can do at home on the NHS website.

The Government’s health advice says: “Understandably, you may find that social distancing can be boring or frustrating.

“You may find your mood and feelings are affected and you may feel low, worried or have problems sleeping and you might miss being outside with other people.

“At times like these, it can be easy to fall into unhealthy patterns of behaviour which in turn can make you feel worse.

“There are simple things you can do that may help, to stay mentally and physically active during this time.”

These include exercising at home and spending time doing things you enjoy like reading, cooking, other indoor hobbies or listening to the radio or watching TV.

The health advice says people should try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals, drink enough water and try to avoid smoking, alcohol and drugs.

Keeping windows open to let in fresh air, getting some natural sunlight if possible, or going outside into the garden if you have one are also advised.

The Government says: “We know that staying at home for a prolonged period can be difficult, frustrating and lonely for some people and that you or other household members may feel low.

“It can be particularly challenging if you don’t have much space or access to a garden.

“It’s important to remember to take care of your mind as well as your body and to get support if you need it. Stay in touch with family and friends over the phone or on social media.

“There are also sources of support and information that can help, such as the Every Mind Matters website.”

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