Who’s for unlimited outdoor exercise?

Your options now the Government guidelines have changed

On Sunday 10th May, Prime Minister Boris Johnson laid out the first steps for easing the UK out of lockdown. But what are the new rules on exercise and what do they mean for you?

After 7 weeks in lockdown, restrictions are slowly beginning to be lifted. And although we don’t yet know when our centres will reopen, we will be able to spend more time outdoors from Wednesday 13th May 2020 "for leisure purposes" – including exercise.

What are the key messages around exercise?

According to the UK Government’s COVID-19 recovery strategy:

  • There is no limit to the amount of exercise allowed, but only alone or with one other person. That person can be from another household, but social distancing rules will still apply.
  • Households are allowed to drive to other destinations in England for leisure and exercise - such as parks and beaches.
  • Playgrounds and outdoor gyms, where there is a higher risk of close contact and touching surfaces, remain shut.
  • People unable to work from home should cycle to walk to work if possible. 
Outdoor sports are fair game!

Because the risk of infection outside is significantly lower than inside, the rules have been relaxed so that people can now spend more time outdoors – we’re now allowed to exercise outside as many times a day as we like, for as long as we like, subject to social distancing rules. Great news for those of us who like long walks, runs or cycle rides! Or why not grab your weights and exercise mat and head to the park for a yoga session or a gym circuit? There’s plenty to choose from on the Places Locker Virtual Studio!

Outdoor sports courts and facilities will start to reopen again, so if you have public tennis or basketball courts near you, so should be able to get some games in soon, as well as a round or two of golf. Fore!

As before, you can exercise with a member of your household, but now you can also meet with a friend to exercise – just be sure to stay two metres apart. No team sports yet though, except with members of your own household.

Girl playing tennis
Keep calm and commute!

As the restrictions ease and more people go back to work, the Government is advising people who can’t work at home to avoid public transport in favour of walking or cycling to work. To support this, UK Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps, has announced what he calls a “once in a generation” £2 billion plan to boost cycling and walking both during and after the lockdown, including a “pop-up” cycling and walking infrastructure to cater for physical distancing during lockdown.

Shapps said that this would result in “lasting changes that could not only make us fitter, but also better-off—both mentally and physically—in the long run”. That’s got to be good, right?

Man riding a bike
Family fun

Unfortunately, playgrounds remain closed for now as there is a higher risk of close contact and touching surfaces. But, with the restrictions lifted on spending time in open spaces like parks (respecting social distancing guidance while you’re there), there’s still loads of fun you can have as a family – if you’ve got a good amount of space, a game of football, short cricket, rounders or frisbee is perfect. Or take racquets and a ball for a knock around. To really get bang for your buck, why not cycle or walk there too if it’s close enough?

Now we’re officially allowed to drive to outdoor open spaces, irrespective of distance, you could go further afield (within reason!) for a family walk in the countryside, on the beach or somewhere you haven’t been able to get to for the last few months.

Man and boy on skateboards, with another child riding a bike
Places Locker App

Whether you’re upping your miles on your bike, runs or walks for exercise or your commute, or playing with the kids in the park, don’t forget that Places Locker App has you covered! You can track all the activity you do, inside and outdoors to get the full picture of how active you are:

  • Use the GPS function to track your running, cycling and walking – go to ‘Outdoor activity tracking’ from the home screen, select Walk, Run or Cycle and off you go!
  • Manually add games and sports – go to ‘Add results’ from the home screen, scroll down to ‘Sport’ and select from the list
  • Try the 100+ workouts for all ages and abilities in Places Locker Virtual Studio

The recommend number of MOVEs per day is 750 or more – are you hitting that target? Download Places Locker for free today and find out!