England (and the rest of the UK) is back in National lock down. Announced by Boris Johnson at 8pm yesterday and effective immediately, we are now once again under a legal obligation to stay at home.
I thought I would take some time to look at all the information and summarise the relevant bits regarding One Hour Outside and #GetOutside. This is not a commentary on what I think of the rules, or the Government(!), but it is meant to be something of an explanation so that we can all continue to spend time outdoors and be both within the restrictions and good citizens.
While we should absolutely be staying at home as much as possible, which is clearly very important indeed for now, we can – and should – leave the house to exercise outdoors.
Moving our bodies in the fresh air and natural light is hugely important for our physical and mental wellbeing. The body, mind and soul benefits from that outdoor time (benefits of getting outside) – so don’t miss yours if at all possible.
While “outdoor recreation” has been removed from the list of permitted reasons to leave the home (no picnics or coffee dates with friends for the time being), going for a walk, run or bike ride outside is very much okay. Walking your dog is also permitted.
We are also being asked, as in March 2020, to keep close to our homes – stay local. Walk from your own front door, or if you need to, travel somewhere where it is safe for you to go for a walk but that is still very close to home (public parks and gardens remain open). We’re back to pounding the pavements, lanes and footpaths in our own areas.
When you do go outside, be sure to practice social distancing (stay two metres from anyone you don’t live with), don’t meet others socially (you can exercise alone, with one other person, or with your household / support bubble), and always be very mindful of others.
That seems to be the crux of it. There is no bending of the rules in the above summary, or suggesting you go out when it’s not necessary, the guidance is very clear (for once). You can and should take your daily opportunity to get outdoor exercise, for both your physical and mental health – these are dark and difficult times, and we know that time outside makes a big difference to how we cope with it all.
Relevant quotes from the Gov website:
> “You can continue to exercise alone, with one other person or with your household or support bubble. This should be limited to once per day, and you should not travel outside your local area.”
> “You can only leave your home to exercise, and not for the purpose of recreation or leisure (e.g. a picnic or a social meeting).”
> “You can exercise in a public outdoor place: parks, beaches, countryside accessible to the public, forests; public gardens (whether or not you pay to enter them); the grounds of a heritage site; playgrounds.”
Remember to always refer to the official website for all the details. And note that most of these points are being brought into law (tomorrow), so we have a legal obligation to follow them.
I genuinely hope you are able to find ways to spend time outdoors for exercise over the coming days and weeks. Keep posting using #OneHourOutside on your favourite social media to let me know where and how you are spending yours, even if you end up on a similar walk every day for the next six weeks!
For additional guidance and lots of ideas including access to free Greenspace maps, check out the updates from Ordnance Survey’s GetOutside campaign.