Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced that England will be changing the guidance on daily exercise.
On 23 March, the UK was placed under strict lockdown. During this period, members of the public were permitted to only leave their homes to shop for essentials or go out in certain circumstances. As part of the lockdown, the public was encouraged to only participate in one form of daily exercise outdoors, despite a limit not being imposed by law.
However, amid mounting pressure over the impact that inactivity and being indoors can have on mental health, the prime minister confirmed in his address to the nation on Sunday 10 May that the English public can now participate in any amount of daily outdoor exercise.
Acknowledging that the virus has “come at a colossal cost to our way of life,” Mr Johnson said: “There are millions of people who are both fearful of this terrible disease, and at the same time also fearful of what this long period of enforced inactivity will do to their livelihoods and their mental and physical wellbeing.”
As of 1 June, people in England will also be able to exercise outside with up to five others from different households, provided that strict social distancing guidelines are followed.
This is everything you need to know about exercising under lockdown.
How many times can you exercise a day?
According to Mr Johnson, from Wednesday, the government is encouraging the public to exercise as many times a day as they like.
“We want to encourage people to take more and even unlimited amounts of outdoor exercise,” the prime minister said, adding: “You can sit in the sun in your local park, you can drive to other destinations, you can even play sports but only with members of your own household.”
Where will you be allowed to exercise outdoors?
According to Mr Johnson, local parks will be open and the public is allowed to “drive to other destinations” for outdoor exercise. While he did not specifically mention hiking trails and beaches, the loosened guidance will likely open up the scenic outdoor areas for exercise as long as people comply with social distancing.
Are you allowed to exercise with other people?
As of 1 June, people in England will be able to exercise outside with up to five others from different households, provided that strict social distancing guidelines are followed.
Will gyms be allowed to reopen?
As of now, only essential businesses are allowed to operate, meaning gyms are still prohibited from opening.
How does the advice differ in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland?
The relaxed guidance comes after the Welsh government, which had legally limited exercise to just once a day, announced this week that it would be allowing the public to go outside for exercise more than once a day as “the evidence shows that the risk of infection is reduced outdoors”.
However, Wales’ First Minister Mark Drakeford said that people must “stay local” and that “any exercise should start and end at home and not involve going a significant distance from home”.
Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon also confirmed the country will no longer have a restriction on outdoor exercise from Monday 11 May.
In Northern Ireland, outdoor spaces and some sports amenities have reopened for people to exercise. Additionally, outdoor activities and sports that do not involve shared contact with hard surfaces, such as golf, water sports and tennis, are allowed.