Current government guidance for being physically active
Our Physical Activity Programme Manager, Barry Lloyd, explains the current government guidance on being physically active during the second national Covid-19 lockdown. He also gives some top tips on different ways to keep moving.
As England begins a new period of national restrictions, the days and weeks ahead will be challenging for everyone. Physical activity was rightly prioritised back in March, when the government first imposed restrictions. This time around, being active is once again considered a justified reason to leave the house.
With indoor facilities closed until December 2nd, being active outdoors is allowed as many times as you like.
With indoor facilities closed until December 2nd, being active outdoors is allowed as many times as you like. This can be either on your own, within your household or support bubble, or on your own with one person from another household whilst keeping two metres apart.
There are some groups who do not count towards the limit of two people from different households meeting outside, such as children who are under school age if they're with a parent/carer, or people dependent on round-the-clock care including those severely affected by mental illness.
To assist people to maintain their physical activity habits and promote wellbeing, public places such as parks, the countryside, beaches and public gardens will stay open, as will outdoor playgrounds.
Although our normal ways of being active may have been restricted, it is important to find other ways of moving our bodies and keeping as active as we can during this uncertain period.
Although our normal ways of being active may have been restricted, it is important to find other ways of moving our bodies and keeping as active as we can during this uncertain period. Add to that the colder, darker days and the increased likelihood of reduced mood or more serious conditions such as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), then the proven boost to our mood and sense of well-being that physical activity provides may well be a key weapon in helping to manage both our physical, and mental health.
Sport England has summarised the new physical activity guidance and answered some frequently asked questions on being active during the new restrictions.
The government guidance still applies, so the ‘Hands, Face, Space’ messaging should be followed. This means maintaining social distancing, although you don’t have to wear a mask whilst exercising outdoors or if you are already exempt from doing so. Washing hands regularly is definitely a good idea both before and after any outside visits - especially following exercise.
What can you do to keep active?
There are few better ways to spend an autumnal day than out in the fresh air walking, enjoying the views and experiencing the sensations of the changing seasons. Layering up helps you to keep warm or cool down as you move, another tip is to download an app to help you keep it interesting. This could be a bird watching app or landmark spotting map or listening to a mindfulness podcast. There are loads of ways to tailor things to suit you. Speaking of apps there are plenty of free ones that can guide you through a variety of activities such as body weight movements, tai chi or guided running for example.
If you’re worried about a family member or vulnerable neighbour, why not make it a point to check in on them by walking to pick up some groceries or prescriptions. Keeping connected is key, if you find yourself with more time on your hands this month, volunteering to help people can really improve your sense of self-worth and provide a focus to your days. It will also almost certainly mean you increase your step count! Physical activity through stealth and helping people too. Now we’re talking!
There are some guidelines and fantastic tips on the NHS website to keep you informed and help to get you started.
Stay in workout
The We Are Undefeatable campaign is designed to support people managing a long term health condition, encouraging you to find what type of physical activity works for you. They also have a great activity selector called the 5 in 5 workout, that’s well worth giving a go!
Sport England have a dedicated page which is being regularly updated with hints, tips and resources to help you be active whilst at home. Why not give some of them a try and let us know how you get on. Use the #Stayinworkout hashtag on social media to keep connected.
The This Girl Can campaign has a great array of activity ideas as well. Including home exercise, park work outs and even Disney dance alongs! There’s even a section on working out with pets!
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