Lockdown: What are the new rules about exercise?

The latest changes to the UK’s lockdown policy were announced by Boris Johnson on Sunday… and they weren’t exactly crystal clear.

So, we decided to pick through the confusion to find out exactly what these new rules mean for exercising.

For the last few weeks, we have been told to limit exercise to once per day. Gyms are closed, outdoor exercise spaces are closed, and team sports have been off-limits too. So what do the new rules mean?

How often can you exercise? Where can you exercise? And who with? These are some of the key questions that need clearing up.

We’ve taken a fine-toothed comb to the government’s 50-page document so you don’t have to.

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How often can you exercise?

Instead of limiting our fitness to once per day, we know have the freedom of unlimited exercise.

So you could go for a walk in the morning, and a run in the afternoon, and even a yoga session in the park at lunchtime if you really feel up to it.

Of course, you shouldn’t be doing multiple sessions of high-intensity exercise every day, so be wary of over-exercising. Rest days are still really important.

But it does mean that you can go for a run and a walk in the same day, which might help if you’re feeling cooped up.

Where can you exercise?

Gyms and all indoor exercise venues will remain closed.

But some outdoor fitness spaces will be accessible again – sports courts (like tennis, basketball and golf) will re-open, but you should only do these activities alone, with members of your household, or with one other person from outside your household, while practicing social distancing.

The report says you should also ‘take particular care’ if you need to use any indoor facilities next to these outdoor courts, like the toilets.

And you definitely shouldn’t use these facilities if you are showing coronavirus symptoms, or if you or anyone in your household is self-isolating.

You can still exercise, run and walk in parks as before – but outdoor gyms will remain closed.

You can travel to any outdoor open space – no matter how far away it is, but you shouldn’t travel with someone from outside your household unless you can practice social distancing – e.g. if you’re cycling.

Who can you exercise with?

You can meet one other person from outside your household if you are outdoors.

In theory, this means you could meet for a session with a personal trainer or sports coach, as long as you are adhering to social distancing rules – and travelling safely to get there.

Public gatherings of more than two people from different households are prohibited in law, according to the new guidelines. But there are no limits on gatherings in the park with members of your household – so you can work out as a family.

It’s really important to continue to observe social distancing guidelines when you are exercising outside your home – ensuring you are two metres away from anyone outside your household.

What can’t you do?

As with before, you cannot:

  • Visit friends and family in their homes
  • Exercise in an indoor sports court, gym or leisure centre, or go swimming in a public pool
  • Use an outdoor gym or playground
  • Gather in a group of more than two (excluding members of your own household), except for a few specific exceptions set out in law (for work, funerals, house moves, supporting the vulnerable, in emergencies and to fulfil legal obligations)

If you are showing coronavirus symptoms, or if you or any of your household are self-isolating, you should stay at home.

This is critical for saving lives and limiting the spread of the virus. So, if you’re worried – stick to home workouts. There are plenty of brilliant routines you can do from your living room.

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