Outdoor Swimming & Exercise

There are some forms of exercise that social distancing will be easier to do than others. One way that I try to help both my physical and mental health is to wild swim in some of Scotland's many lochs. You can get in the water and ensure you aren't near anyone else. In England, the current rule for driving for exercise is that it's ok as long as the exercise lasts longer than the drive. I think outdoor exercise should be considered in the earlier stages of easing the lockdown. Yes, there will be the argument perhaps being in the water or being on a hill may increase the risk of things going wrong. But at the moment people are out walking, cycling, kids are bouncing on trampolines - there is potential risk at every turn.

Outdoor activity is vital for mental health. It would be good to give people some more opportunities to get outside and take part in activities vital to their wellbeing.

Why the contribution is important

It's important because-

It promotes mental and physical wellbeing.

It's something that can work with social distancing.

Outwith CoVid, people's health will still be suffering with more traditional chronic conditions like Heart Problems, Diabetes, High Blood Pressure eye - giving the opportunity to exercise more can only be good for the nation's health in general.

by lizcarey78 on May 06, 2020 at 07:08PM

Current Rating

Average rating: 4.5
Based on: 29 votes


  • Posted by digitalgareth May 06, 2020 at 19:20

    People are ignoring the clear guidelines on social distancing so it goes that people will take more outdoors exercise to mean hang about parks etc more
  • Posted by lizcarey78 May 06, 2020 at 19:34

    If the exercise was specified though. The thing about parks is that yes people may congregate and just sit around. But with swimming it's a specific activity.
  • Posted by codenamev May 06, 2020 at 19:36

    Great idea, digitalgareths comment is completely skewed towards the minority fluting the rules, the vast majority are adhering to the guidelines. WE can;t stop life because of the minority, especially as we are supposed to live in a diverse democracy.
  • Posted by Jules101 May 06, 2020 at 19:38

    Outdoor exercise good - whatever form it takes.

    Motor vehicle to starting point of exercise has no justification.

    We are all being asked to make sacrifices from normal freedoms.

    So if loch is on your doorstep go ahead. Driving required to get there. Then no!
  • Posted by theresasheldon May 06, 2020 at 19:42

    As a physiotherapist I would say that exercise of all forms is essential for good health. Outdoor swimming Is great but has to be safe - ie where there are lifeguards or safety features present
  • Posted by Nursewifemother May 06, 2020 at 20:00

    Exercise is important but not having to drive there. Need clear guidance on how far should travel
  • Posted by lizcarey78 May 06, 2020 at 20:26

    Outwith the Covid Pandemic, many people swim in open water without the presence of a lifeguard. So why should that change? Many people swim with a companion, and again social distancing could be followed.

    As for the driving for exercise, the rule in the rest of the UK is you can drive as long as the exercise lasts longer for the drive. So if it was a half hour drive, but you swam for an hour, that is permitted. Why can't that be the case in Scotland?
  • Posted by KateDuffus May 06, 2020 at 20:31

    I think that pretty much all forms of outdoor exercise and recreation where social distancing can be maintained should be allowed. This should also include allowing a short drive to the location. The benefits to health are considerable and the risk of virus transmission is small.
  • Posted by lmg1612 May 06, 2020 at 20:33

    I've always wanted to try wild water swimming as I have a friend who does it. I think you should be allowed to do it. Taking your car to starting point of exercise should be allowed. I haven't been near our local woods in weeks due to the high volume of people now walking in them.
  • Posted by lizcarey78 May 06, 2020 at 20:38


    You should definitely give it a go. I only got into it last year and it's amazing. It's a great stressbuster and cold water submersion definitely reduces my stress.
  • Posted by Free May 06, 2020 at 20:58

    Thanks for the comment - all outdoor exercise done in a socially distancing way with sensible and reasonable travel to the start as others have said increased public health and decreased stress. Spreading the Scottish public out more decreases the potential R factor. Outdoor activities with responsibilities should be the message. Not using local amenities (shops etc) if you travel to another place. Leave no trace. As someone who suffers with mental health condition the outdoors has been a saviour for managing it. Please let us back and we will treat the outdoors and the communities with respect.
  • Posted by apple4me May 08, 2020 at 23:37

    Agree completely. Outdoor swimming should be allowed. I do it to manage my physical and mental health (fibromyalgia, anxiety, fitness, weight management) . Lockdown is literally physically and mentally painful.

    Having said that, I wouldn't necessarily recommend those new to the sport that now is the time to take it up, although swimming with an experienced friend or an OW swim coach would be OK.
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