Explained: rules on exercise in lockdown 3 - and how far you can travel

People enjoying their exercise in Christchurch Park during the lockdown in Ipswich. Picture: SARAH L

People exercising in Christchurch Park during the lockdown last year - Credit: Archant

Exercise is one of the best ways of keeping yourself fit and healthy, as well as staving off coronavirus - but current lockdown rules mean the government is saying: "You should minimise time spent outside your home." So what are the rules?

How often can I exercise?

Because of the rules reducing how often people can be outside their homes and to minimise contact with others, government guidelines clearly state that exercise outdoors "should be limited to once per day".

The guidance adds: "This includes but is not limited to running, cycling, walking, and swimming."

Of course, within the confines of your own home you can exercise as much as you like - whether it is with your own personal equipment, or by doing your own routines or following video broadcasts like Joe Wicks' PE lessons.

People make the most of the mild weather for their daily exercise in Christchurch Park Picture: SA

Questions remain about how far you are allowed to travel for exercise - Credit: Archant

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Who can I exercise with?

In public outdoor spaces, you can exercise by yourself or anyone you live with.

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You can also exercise with anyone who is part of your support bubble, if you meet the criteria to be allowed to form one.

Only when you're on your own can you meet up with one other person for exercise outdoors - provided you stay socially distanced.

Can I meet my personal trainer?

Yes - the government guidance says: "Personal training can continue one-on-one unless everyone is within the same household or support bubble."

What about sports venues?

Gyms, tennis courts, golf courses and swimming pools have all been ordered to close in the third national coronavirus lockdown.

How far can I travel?

This has been a subject of hot debate since the lockdown came into force this month.

The government guidance says: "You should not travel outside your local area."

The guidance also says: "Stay local means stay in the village, town, or part of the city where you live."

Last week, two women were fined £200 in Derbyshire after they drove five miles to walk at a nearby beauty spot.

Their fines were since rescinded - and to further add to the confusion, prime minister Boris Johnson was reportedly seen cycling seven miles from Downing Street at the weekend.

Asked at a Downing Street briefing on Monday whether people could exercise seven miles from their home, health secretary Matt Hancock said: "Yes, you can go and exercise in the park with one other person, but only one other person.

"It is OK, if you went for a long walk and ended up seven miles away from home, that is OK.

"But, you should stay local, you should not go from one side of a country to another, potentially taking the virus with you."

What about sportspeople, like footballers?

People on an elite sports pathway are one of the few groups who have an exemption to be outside in larger groups, although the government stresses this is not for socialising.

Their coaches are also permitted, along with parents or guardians if they are aged under 18.

What if I break the rules?

Suffolk police have said they are taking tougher action in the third lockdown about people who break any of the restrictions than they had done for previously.

A total of 39 fines were handed by officers in Suffolk over the weekend, compared with six last weekend. People can be fined up to £200. 

Assistant chief constable Rob Jones said: "I would say when we started we were probably fining people as a last resort, then we stepped to doing it when it was necessary but now we feel that necessity has become stronger because of the public health risk. So we're stepping to fines faster. 

"So you won't necessarily get the opportunity for a warning."

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