Outdoor Exercise

The current social distancing guidelines mean we should all be limiting our contact with others to help reduce the spread of coronavirus.

This includes only shopping for basic necessities such as food or medicine, any medical need or to care for a vulnerable person or travelling to and from work when you can’t work from home.

For many of us, that means we might not be able to carry on with our usual exercise routines. But, that doesn’t mean you can’t exercise at all. The government guidelines allow for one form of outdoor exercise a day, and here’s what it could look like

What Your One Dose of Outdoor Exercise Could Look Like:

Go for a walk:

Walking is a great way to get outside for an hour and brisk walking can have many benefits, including helping you build stamina, burn calories and can keep you heart healthy. According to the NHS (1) a brisk walk is about 3 miles an hour, which is faster than a stroll. You should be able to talk, but not sing.

Make sure you are wearing shoes that are comfortable, providing adequate support and don’t cause blisters.

Ride your bike:

Regular cycling can help reduce the risk of chronic illnesses such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes and stoke (2). Make sure to wear a helmet, check your bike is safe, stay alert and always follow the highway code.

If you haven’t cycled in awhile, you might find it best to practice away from cars such as a park.

Try running:

Like cycling, running can help to reduce your risk of long-term illnesses such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes and stoke and all you need is a pair of trainers suitable for running (3). If you haven’t been active in awhile it’s best to ease yourself into it. You could try couch to 5k which is a running plan for beginners designed to help you run 5k within 9 weeks.

If you’re new to running, here’s our advice on running for beginners.

How much exercise to aim for a week:

According to the NHS (4) adults should try to be active everyday and aim to achieve at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity a week or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity activity a week. Moderate exercise should raise your heart rate and make you breathe faster and feel warmer, so brisk walking would be moderate exercise whereas running would usually count as vigorous.

You should also try to do strengthening exercises that work all the major muscles on at least 2 days a week. This could be following on yoga videos, lifting weights if you have them or doing exercises that use your own body weight, such as push ups and sit-ups.