The rules on exercising outside have changed again: here's exactly what you can (and can't) do

Morgan Fargo
·4-min read
Photo credit: Yu Tsai for Harper's Bazaar
Photo credit: Yu Tsai for Harper's Bazaar

From Harper's BAZAAR

  • The government has released new guidelines on outdoor exercise, following the Prime Minister's announcement of lockdown amendments on Monday evening

  • As of midnight on Tuesday, 5 January, all outdoor team sports are banned and exercising outside should be restricted to once per day, in your local area

  • You can meet one other person not from your household or support bubble to exercise outside, maintaining social-distancing protocol

  • These rules are exclusive to England – Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have devolved health powers

The Prime Minister announced on Monday evening that England would be re-entering a stricter national lockdown to quell the rapid spread of Covid-19.

Among the new rules are amendments to restrictions on exercise and time spent outside. So, what are the specifics?

As of Wednesday this week, you can:

  • Exercise outside once per day.

  • Meet up with one person from another household (or outside of your support bubble) to exercise – with two-metres of maintained social distance.

  • Continue to walk, run, jog, cycle, and work out in public places including parks, beaches, countryside accessible to the public, forests, public gardens, heritage site grounds and playgrounds within your local area.

You cannot:

  • Play any team sports which require you to mix with people outside of your household or support bubble.

  • Meet up with more than one person from another household to take exercise outside.

  • Mingle in social-areas related to sport and exercise such as clubhouses or for recreational purposes.

What are the rules in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland?

As the three countries in the United Kingdom have devolved health powers, they are not bound to follow Westminster's new plan.

Scotland

As of today, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said that leaving the house for all purposes besides those that are essential should be limited for those in the entirety of the Scottish mainland.

Local outdoor recreation, sport or exercise, walking, cycling, golf, or running that starts and finishes at the same place (which can be up to 5 miles from the boundary of your local authority area) [is permitted] as long as you abide by the rules on meeting other households.

Wales

Currently, you are able to leave the house to exercise, alone or with members of your household or support bubble. This must be done locally unless there is a reason, such as a specific health condition or mobility issue, that would require driving to the nearest convenient, accessible location.

Northern Ireland

Current rules on exercise have not changed since the implementation of the most recent lockdown on December 26th: outdoor exercise is permitted but only with members of your own household.

Why have the rules on exercise changed?

Speaking to the country on Monday evening, Prime Minister Boris Johnson emphasised that 'we must do more' to quell the rapid rise of coronavirus cases in England.

People are now permitted to leave the house for specific reasons only: essential shopping, to work, if you cannot work from home, to exercise, to seek medical help, and to escape domestic abuse.

Can you meet up with other people to exercise?

While you can meet up with one person from another household for exercise, you must remain two-metres apart. If you choose to exercise outside with people from your household or support bubble, you do not need to maintain social distancing measures.

How far can I drive to exercise?

Exercise must take place in your local area. Driving to other areas to exercise is no longer permitted and you may be fined if found driving without a valid reason outlined in the rules.

Disclaimer: The information in this story is accurate as of the publication date. While we are attempting to keep our content as up-to-date as possible, the situation surrounding the coronavirus pandemic continues to develop rapidly, so it's possible that some information and recommendations may have changed since publishing. For any concerns and latest advice, visit the World Health Organisation. If you're in the UK, the National Health Service can also provide useful information and support, while US users can contact the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

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